If recruiting rankings mean anything, UMass saved its best high school signee for last.
Lorenzo Woodley, a three-star running back that we’ve mentioned again and again signed his Letter of Intent with the University of Massachusetts today. He and head coach Charley Molnar announced the signing on Twitter.
According to 247 Sports, Woodley is the top-rated athlete in UMass’ 2013 class. Woodley’s signing also boosted Molnar’s first full class from sixth in the Mid-American Conference to fourth. As things stand, the Minutemen are behind only Toledo, Bowling Green and Central Michigan in MAC recruiting.
After researching archives on Scout, Rivals and 247 Sports, the Maroon Musket has determined that Woodley is the highest-ranked recruit for the Minutemen since the recruiting sites began keeping track of UMass’ signees.
While the Woodley signing adds a much-needed injection of talent, the process of his recruitment is even more impressive. When word got out that he was considering signing with the Minutemen, UMass fans from across the country tweeted encouraging words. Woodley frequently re-tweeted (aka. publicly endorsed) the messages. Despite similar pushes from Arkansas and South Florida fans, the UMass comments were far greater in volume.
Even UMass recruits got involved as both Shane Huber and Peter Angeh both urged Woodley to sign with the Minutemen.
At the end of the day, Lorenzo Woodley may go down as the first recruit to be recruited by UMass coaches and signed by UMass fans.
Of course, there were other factors involved.
College football’s coaching carousel sent Woodley for a loop. According to the Miami Herald, he was down two four schools: South Florida, Cincinnati, North Carolina State and Purdue. However, each program changed coaches and Woodley found himself looking for a place to land.
The thought was that, if USF offered a desirable spot, Woodley would sign. However, the Bulls inked two running backs – Stafon McCray and Darius Tice – and it was clear that he wasn’t a high priority.
That left UMass and several other schools, and Woodley decided to come to Amherst.
The 6’2, 200-pound back had 24 touchdowns and 1,086 yards last year for Columbus High School, which plays 8A ball in Florida – the highest level of football in the Sunshine State. Check out his hudl highlights here.
With Woodley’s signing, UMass now has an interesting array of backs. They now have speed (Stacey Bedell), power (Daquan Mack), shiftiness (Jordan Broadnax) and all-around talent (Woodley).
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