Long Trip To West Virginia Worth It For Michigan’s Wood
The catch of the day, fittingly, was made by a kid from the banks of Lake Michigan.
Let’s let Alijah Wood (yes, like the actor except for the first letter) take you through his touchdown grab during passing drills at West Virginia University’s Elite One-Day Camp on Saturday.
“It was a wheel route. The ball’s in the air. The defender is right on my side. I didn’t have a lot of space, so I just decided to speed up and cut in front of him. And then the ball was really low, so I just dove on the ground, scooped with my arm and made the catch,” Wood said. “It was exciting.”
The rising senior at West Ottawa High School in Holland, Michigan drove eight hours to Morgantown this weekend, touring the school on Friday in addition to showing off his football skills.
“I decided to come here because I like the school. I like the area, the campus, West Virginia. It’s a great place,” Wood said. “This is my only D-1 that I went to.”
In addition to his highlight-reel grab, Wood also cleanly separated from his defender to make a catch underneath that would have gone for a big gain or even a touchdown in a game situation, among other grabs.
West Ottawa High has about 2,500 students and has produced Matt Vanderbeek, who played his college ball at Michigan State and then was in the NFL from 1990 to 1996, as well as former University of Michigan linebacker Desmond Morgan.
West Ottawa won its district championship in Division 1, the largest division in Michigan, last year before losing in the regional final, the equivalent of the state quarterfinals, to Clarkston, which won the state championship for the third time in five years.
Wood started at cornerback last year and expects to play running back and safety this year.
What are Wood’s strengths?
“Cutting, footwork, speed. Also, I’ve been doing 7-on-7s forever, so on the defensive side, I’m really smart in the air. So that helps me on offense with catching and knowing how to work around the defense,” Wood said.
WVU hasn’t been on Wood’s radar for all that long.
“I’ve been looking here for about a year,” Wood said. “They have my majors and I just always liked West Virginia.”
Wood is hoping to major in either biochemical engineering or biomedical engineering, so the fact that he carries a 4.0 GPA shouldn’t be a surprise.