LAS VEGAS—If Darrelle Revis can have Revis Island, Jaiden Woodbey can have Clamp Squad Central.
After all, the Class of 2018 defensive back from St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) is not the nicest football player you want to line up against. And make no mistake, he is a well-rounded defensive back who refuses to be confined to one position in the secondary.
Fact is, Woodbey is a very nice young man, with manners and humility about his talent, but on the field, he’s about as nasty a defensive back you’re going to come across. Which is probably why Ohio State coach Urban Meyer recruited him. And it also why a guy like Woodbey could commit to play for the Buckeyes last month.
“Urban Meyer is the best coach in college football and I know when I get there I’m going to better myself as a man, outside of football,” Woodbey said. “I’m looking at it outside the football aspect to be a better man once I graduate.”
And that’s where his humility and human side is revealed, as he not only appreciated being recruited for his skills, but also for the way Meyer and his staff approached Woodbey’s recruitment process.
“They called me asking me how my day was, how was school, how was my family; sometimes we wouldn’t even talk about football and I think that’s what got me the most,” Woodbey said. “You can tell when people are just recruiting you just to recruit you. But I feel like they genuinely care about their players, so that’s another thing that got them over the hump.”
Back to football, his skills undoubtedly were what first attracted more than 25 schools that offered him scholarships. His physical covering skills have been on display the past few weeks on the 7-man circuit, including last weekend’s adidas 7v7 National Championship.
Though the only equipment used in 7-man football is padded head gear to help reduce the risk of a concussion or head injury, Woodbey introduced every receiver who entered his territory to “Clamp Squad Central.”
“Each week I come out to these tournaments, it’s just a chance to get better as a football player,” Woodbey said. “But I’m still very competitive when I’m out here. I do treat it just like it’s a regular game, so I always have to stay focused no matter what.”
That said, Woodbey remained humble is saying anytime he steps on a football field, he does so with the intention of improving every aspect of his game, whether it is footwork, centralizing his core and improving his hips or understanding route concepts being run by some of the nation’s best receivers and tight ends.
“You always have to be humble,” Woodbey said. “You have to think about it like this: this isn’t real football, it benefits the DBs mostly out of everybody else.”
Being a high-profile high school football player comes with a lot of pressure. And when you attend a national powerhouse like St. John Bosco, you’re going to have a target on your back, whether you’re on offense or defense.
Thus, Woodbey understands his game will always be under a microscope, and will be critiqued by anyone not cheering for Bosco, or his 7-man team, Ground Zero. He also understands outside influence is irrelevant when you’ve been recruited by the best college football programs in America.
“I need to be my own critic and focus on what I think I need to get better, rather than listen to everybody else,” Woodbey said. “I can’t let all the outside influences get to me. Mentally I just know there is always something to fix.
“And I know when I’m out here going against the best dudes, it gives me a chance to get better and focus on me.”
Not to mention welcome everyone to “Clamp Squad Central.”