Woods, who grew up in nearby Gardena, used to be a fan in the stands when DeSean Jackson was tormenting secondaries as a five-star prospect at Long Beach Poly. Woods was so inspired by Jackson’s WR play, that he admitted to the NFL Network’s Good Morning Football on April 15 that he almost didn’t go to USC.
“Been a huge fan of his game, always watched him. Almost went to Cal ’cause I wanted to be like him so much and imitate his game,” Woods told the show.
Woods then revealed to reporters in a May 26 video conference interview that he not only watched “D-Jax” deliver highlight-reel plays with the Jackrabbits, but already has one family member who holds the claim of playing alongside the new Ram first.
“I’ve known DeSean Jackson since Long Beach Poly days. My cousin Alex Watson played receiver with him during that time, so I actually saw him in his younger days at Long Beach Poly,” Woods told reporters.
L.A. Prep Legends Had Near Similar Career Trajectory
Jackson is a 2005 graduate of Long Beach Poly and helped continue the Jackrabbits’ winning consistency on 1600 Atlantic Avenue in “The International City.”
Jackson left the Long Beach Poly campus a California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Southern Section champion – guiding the Jackrabbits to a 13-1 mark and beating Los Alamitos 21-6 for the section title. Jackson capped his senior year with four 100-yard outings according to MaxPreps and had three evenings of scoring two touchdowns in a game.
“D-Jax” continued the dynamic flair after his Poly career. He’s best known for delivering one of the more dominating individual performances in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January 2005.
Woods had an equally similar recruiting path to Jackson: Ascending to five-star status but ranking as the second-best athlete nationally for the 2010 class according to 247Sports. He was also a five-star by scout.com.
From the moment Woods was elevated to the varsity roster at the Roman Catholic school, he went on to become one of the most decorated wideouts in Cavs’ history. In 45 games, Woods captured 192 passes for 3,310 yards and scored 41 touchdowns, plus ended his Serra career with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons per MaxPreps.
And much like “D-Jax,” Woods ended his senior season with a CIF ring. Except, he not only claimed a Southern Section championship with the Cavs in the 2009-10 season, but snatched a state title. Woods and the Cavs exacted revenge over an Oaks Christian team that had embarrassed them 63-28 his junior year in the CIF-SS title game by edging them 42-41 in overtime, which additionally ended the Lions’ seven-year streak of not losing a playoff game. Woods put a cap on his brilliant preps career by hauling in eight passes for 180 yards and scored twice in the 24-20 victory over Marin Catholic for the state’s Division III championship.
Former L.A. Five-Stars Now Adding to Rams’ Aerial Assault
Rare that an NFL team has two of the more dominating local high school players of all-time end up on the same roster in their home region.
But the Rams will have two former five stars who rose to recruiting stardom at nearby high schools. Woods is loving the new WR room with Jackson adding another deep threat presence.
“I think it’s going to be affecting the defenses this year with these additions. We’re going to be coming with a lot of speed, a lot of weapons in our rotation, we’re just loaded at the receiver position,” Woods said.
What will also help the Rams’ air attack? Woods teaming with the WR he’s watched since his prep days, saying “It’s kind of super cool to watch someone you watched grow up and now, he’s on the same team in L.A.”