JMU Lands 3-Star CB Woods
HARRISONBURG – When AJ Woods sorted and examined all his offers from a mix of FBS and FCS programs, he always returned to one thought.
“James Madison hit all the checkmarks,” Woods said. “It wasn’t too far from home. It’s a good school, has good football and I have the possibility to play early.”
The Northwest High School (Germantown, Md.) cornerback announced his verbal commitment to the Dukes on Monday via Twitter, becoming the third overall pledge in the class of 2019.
Woods said he narrowed his 19 choices down to three – JMU, Temple and Virginia – before he picked the Dukes. Rivals.com rates Woods as a three-star prospect.
“I looked at it through a completely unbiased scope,” Woods said. “I want to play as soon as possible. I want a school that fits right and I feel comfortable with because I don’t want to be at a school, and then all of a sudden not like it and want to transfer.
“And James Madison, I got a good feeling about. Good campus, good people and that’s more important than Power Five. I feel wanted there. The Power Five schools they give me this and that, or that me not being 6-foot goes into the recruiting process there, so I just felt more comfortable with James Madison.”
The 5-foot-11, 175-pounder recorded three interceptions as a junior and said JMU sees him fitting in at any of the cornerback spots on defense and as a return man for its special teams.
“I’m probably stronger in press coverage, but I can play in off coverage, too,” Woods said. “I’m fast, so I can break on the ball well.”
Throughout the decision-making process, Woods visited JMU in the spring and again on June 15. He said he plans to ink his National Letter of Intent with the Dukes during the December early signing period.
Once he arrives in Harrisonburg, he’ll be reunited with former Northwest teammate and current JMU sophomore cornerback Wesley McCormick.
“We played on opposite sides of each other at Northwest together when I was a sophomore,” Woods said. “Me and him were the two corners. I talked to him about James Madison and got the scoop on how it is from a player’s perspective and he helped me out a lot through my decision.”
JMU’s lead recruiter on Woods is inside receivers and tight ends coach Fontel Mines, who also serves as the school’s recruiting coordinator. Woods said cornerbacks coach Corico Wright was also involved.
“Both of them were super honest with me and super real,” Woods said. “They saw the potential I had and they showed a lot of interest in me, and I couldn’t appreciate that more.”
Woods is the second cornerback in the Dukes’ recruiting class, joining Shelby High School’s (Shelby, N.C.) Dorian Davis. JMU will graduate three senior cornerbacks – Jimmy Moreland, Curtis Oliver and Rashad Robinson – after this season.
Going back to Northwest also represents the second time in this cycle that the JMU staff has secured a commitment from a high school that is already represented on the current roster. Running back commit CJ Jackson plays at Hermitage, where Robinson and freshman linebacker Mateo Jackson went before getting to Madison.