Swinney, Goodwin fired up about new LB signee

Swinney, Goodwin fired up about new LB signee

Football

Swinney, Goodwin fired up about new LB signee

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On Thanksgiving Day, Clemson landed a commitment from a player that the Tigers are thankful to have.

Dabo Swinney is stoked about Wade Woodaz, a linebacker from Tampa’s Jesuit High that signed with Clemson on Wednesday.

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound prospect committed to the Tigers on Nov. 25, choosing Swinney’s program over Miami, Louisville, Iowa, Maryland, West Virginia, TCU and Utah among others.

“You wait till you see this guy,” Swinney said of Woodaz during Clemson Football’s National Signing Day Show. “This guy was born to be a linebacker. … Unbelievable athlete.”

Woodaz is captain of a Jesuit squad that is 14-0 and set to play for the Class 6A state title tonight against Pine Forest (Pensacola). This season, he posted 82 tackles, including seven tackles for loss, to go with four caused fumbles, a blocked kick and two interceptions.

Swinney had high praise for Woodaz, comparing him to former Clemson and current Arizona Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons – a unanimous All-American in 2019 and the Butkus Award winner that season as the nation’s top linebacker.

“He’s going to remind you a lot of Isaiah Simmons,” Swinney said of Woodaz. “He’s a little more athletic than Isaiah was, a little more coordinated early than Isaiah was. But he’s got that range. Incredibly physical. He’s played all over. He’s got a great football acumen. Played quarterback for a long time. He’s probably 6-3-plus, and he can throw it down, dunk it any way you want – backwards, windmill, it doesn’t matter. But this is a great young prospect that we knocked it out of the park on. So, really excited about him. … Going to be a great fit for us.”

For his career, Woodaz has tallied 216 tackles, including 10 tackles for loss, along with five caused fumbles, two recovered fumbles, two blocked kicks and two fumble recoveries.

Like Swinney, new Clemson defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Wes Goodwin is fired up about Woodaz, who plans to enroll in the summer of 2022.

“I’m really excited to have Wade come join our team,” Goodwin said, via Woodaz’s official Clemson bio. “He’s going to fit right in with the culture and the locker room that Coach Swinney has created here. Comes from a great family. He’s an unbelievable leader. Plays with great passion and energy. He’s long, athletic. Really good instincts, really good ball skills. My favorite part is the physicality that he plays with. He loves contact, he’s a striker. I can’t wait to see him run down the hill in that orange and white uniform.”

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