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Countdown to kickoff - D'Juan Woods

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D'Juan Woods

OSU football is just 12 weeks (84 days) from its season opener against Central Michigan on Sept. 1.

In honor of being 84 days away from football, The O’Colly sat down with a famous No. 84 from OSU history, D’Juan Woods.

What Woods remembers most about OSU:

Woods: “I would say comradery with the fellas and the sea of orange. I mean we had an incredible fan base and just being in Stillwater, spending the time that I did there, it was some of the best years of my life. You take those years for granted in the midst, but as you get older, you realize just how much of a wonderful time it was. You look back and you just think about the history and the times that you’ve had with the guys that you were able to share it with.”

Keeping it in the family

Woods played football with both of his brothers, Rashuan and Donovan, during his time at OSU.

Woods: “Playing with my brothers was truly a blessing. You understand that a lot of people don’t have that luxury, or even have the opportunity, to play with a family member. But to have the opportunity to play with both my brothers – I remember in 2003 I was starting receiver on one side, Rashaun was starting on the other and Donovan was second-string quarterback at the time. And I think about that and we are probably one of the only families that can say that. Especially coming through Oklahoma State, having that many of us play such an intricate role in the success of a team.

Beginning of a new era

When Woods first arrived on campus in 2002, Les Miles was the Cowboys’ head football coach. But when Mike Gundy took over in Woods’ redshirt junior year (2005), Woods saw the culture change.

Woods: “Winning is a mentality. And when coach Gundy came in, and the staff that he surrounded himself with, they set a bar. And that bar started in the weight room with coach Glass and Gary Calcagno and Joel Tuckman. They really started to drive home what it was to be a winner and what it was going to take in order to turn the program around.

“When they first came in, I mean it was a tough pill to swallow knowing that things were going to be like this. Even from summer conditioning, it was night and day to what we were used to. Our first year we were like, ‘What in the world is going on?’ Then, about a year or so in, you watched the freshmen come in and that’s all they know, and you start to see the shift in the team as that becomes the norm of changing players’ mindsets from just playing the game to being a dominant contender and it turning into a winning program.”

The start of the streak

OSU football has been to 16 consecutive bowl game – the sixth-longest streak in the country. Woods’ senior season in 2006 was the team that started the streak.

Woods: “It was truly an honor to know that my class started to usher in that movement. And I take for granted a lot of the time the intricate part that we played in that movement. And as I look back now, and I’ve been up to the new facilities and new stadium and seen all the changes and realized that I was a part of the era that kind of ushered that in. And it’s truly an honor, and it’s overwhelming, and it’s truly a blessing to know that just a drop can cause such a ripple. One little stone can cause a ripple that now has become a monstrous wave throughout college football.”

Most memorable moment

Before playing at Missouri in 2004, Woods injured a leg but taped up both so the Tigers didn’t know which leg was hurt. And that was just the start of the day’s memorable 20-17 win.

Woods: “When we played against Missouri, Donovan was in at quarterback, and we were down at halftime. We were going into the fourth quarter, we were away from home, we were driving down the field and he threw two passes to me back to back. One was a post corner, I remember, that I got up over the defender and caught the ball in double coverage. And then we lined up and he threw the fade route that I went over the DB and caught the pass in the end zone, and we won that game. Those were the plays that did it.”

Where is he now?

Woods still can’t move a couple toes after a spinal cord injury nearly left him paralyzed below the neck while playing with the New Orleans Saints in 2009. But he fought for his mobility and health and recovered, despite the odds. Now, he’s a fitness trainer with his own program, WoodsFit, in Frisco, Texas.

Woods: “I do athletic development for youth, I do fitness, weight loss, muscle gain, just anything health and wellness. The journey of gaining my health back and the knowledge that I acquired to keep the quality of life that I have, when I utilize it for myself it’s great, but to maximize that, I’m able to help other people take back their health and wellness. So I offer virtual and online coaching programs. I actually have Josh Fields in one of my coaching programs right now, and I would say he’s in the best shape of his life right now.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com