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August 2, 2014

Local RB/FB opens eyes



Los Gatos running back/fullback Joey Wood is still waiting on his first college offer, but he recently got a strong endorsement to indicate that he has the ability to succeed at a high level.

After the conclusion of Stanford's Saturday Night Lights camp, Wood was chatting with Cardinal running backs coach Lance Taylor when Stanford offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren joined the conversation.

"He was really impressed with everything I did and he loved the fiery attitude I had and the tenacity I showed and how I played with a chip on my shoulder and things like that," Wood said. "He asked what kind of offers I had and I said I had none, none yet. And he just kind of dropped his head and thought that was ridiculous and didn't understand. He seemed really excited about what I did. They all said they really liked what I did and they think I fit them well."

In addition to attending Stanford's late-July camp, Wood participated in the Cardinal's June all-positions camp. He's also camped with Fresno State, Michigan, Arizona, Nevada, Sacramento State, San Jose State, UC Davis and Cal Poly.

Wood has received interest from a number of Mountain West and Ivy League schools, along with UC Davis, Cal Poly and Montana.

He first heard from Stanford this spring, when Bay Area recruiter Peter Hansen paid a visit to Wood's high school. From there, Hansen invited Wood to participate in Cardinal's June camp, where he worked out as a running back.

"They seemed to be impressed with me after that camp and they were excited that I came out," Wood said. "And then (last month) Coach Hansen messaged me on twitter letting me know about their Saturday Night Lights camp and asked me to come out and asked me if I was interested in being recruited by them as a fullback because he said that's what they're looking for in the 2015 class. So I said, 'Yeah, of course.' He said he was glad that I said that and he was excited to see me out at the camp and stuff like that.
Like he did at running back the previous month, Wood impressed the Cardinal's coaches with his work at fullback during the Saturday Night Lights camp.

"After the camp I was talking to Coach Hansen for a long time and he said that I did really well and when I did everything tht they hoped and wanted me to do," Wood said. "Coach taylor, the running backs coach said that I opened a lot of eyes and had a lot of the coaches talking."

Whether Stanford will offer a spot on its team remains to be seen - the Cardinal did recently pick up a 2015 fullback commitment from Reagan Williams - but Stanford indicated to Wood that they plan to continue to evaluate him this fall.

(*Note: this interview was conducted before Williams was offered by and committed to Stanford)

"They just said that they want to see some games in the season, so I don't know what that means to a future offer or not, but they just said they're looking forward to seeing some games and they really want to see how I play," Wood said. "Since they're right in town Coach Taylor said he and Coach Hansen might come out for a game this season."

Wood thinks the Cardinal program would be a strong fit for his skillset.

"I already told all the Stanford coaches that I've talked to this: Stanford is perfect for me, because whether I go in at fullback or running back, that's for one the perfect offense for me," Wood said. "That's what I've been both raised in youth football and paly in high school football, and it fits my style of play. I'm not the type of player who is going to run around people in a spread offense. I'm the guy who is going to get 25 or 30 carries a game like Tyler Gaffney, and just run it between the tackles all game long and beat up the middle and make room for the play action over the top, something like that. That's how Stanford's offense really fits me. It's also close to home, so I'd be able to come home for the holidays. My parents come to all my games, so they'll always be able to be at my games. And then obviously the academics at Stanford are some of the top in the world. So it's definitely one amazing school. They're also national championship contenders every year. I couldn't think of a better place."

Interestingly enough, though he was born and raised in the Bay Area, Wood was not a Stanford fan growing up. His mother used to work for San Jose State, and he sided with the Spartans over the Cardinal.

But in recent years, Wood's allegiances have shifted.

"I actually used to not be a Stanford fan," Wood said. "My mom worked for SJSU, so I was a big SJSU fan and they've always been rivals. But growing up and getting older and getting to know more about the game of football, throughout high school I've always loved Stanford because their playing style and their offense is perfect for me. It's the same offense I run at my school so I've always been a fan of their running backs and their team. They're always the hometown team now, so I always support them."

Wood reports a cumulative GPA in the 3.3 range. He scored a 1700 on the SAT on his first attempt, which he took without extensive preparation.


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