- By Jason Dougas Lewis
- In Football
USC receiver Robert Woods has exceeded the hype after coming out of Gardena Serra High School.
Robert Woods had his way with Colorado's defense, as he set USC's single game record with four receiving touchdowns on the day, and he also set the USC career receptions record. He finished the game with eight receptions for 132 yards.
Photo by Jeff Lewis
Article originally published by the Los Angeles Sentinel. www.lasentinel.net
By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor (2010-2013)
Robert Woods was a star at Gardena Serra High School, leading his team to a State Bowl championship in 2009. Woods did it all on the field his senior season, catching 66 passes for 1,112 yards and 15 touchdowns. As a cornerback he intercepted eight passes. Woods also anchored Serra's 4x400-meter relay team to a state title, and he was one of the fastest 200 and 400-meter runners in the nation.
Woods was named the ESPN RISE Cal-Hi Sports Boys State Athlete of the Year, and he graduated with a 3.5 grade point average.
There have been a number of high school phenoms who did not pan out on the next level, or did not live up to the hype. But for Woods, he has not only lived up to the hype, but he has exceeded it by miles.
This past Saturday in No. 10 USC's a 50-6 victory over Colorado, Woods put on a spectacular show, setting USC's all-time career receptions record (in just 2 1/2 seasons), and he made Colorado's defensive backfield look nonexistent by setting a USC single game record by catching four touchdown passes.
Woods caught short passes and turned them into touchdowns, and he simply outran his defenders for long touchdowns. What ever Colorado threw at him he destroyed.
After Woods' great performance, his character shined as he was mobbed by the press on hand. He showed that his way of becoming a big time player is by being humble.
"It's a great accomplishment and I thank God," Woods said. "And I also thank Coach Kiffin for giving me the opportunity to play on this team. Just to go down with those guys in USC history is an honor."
Woods is now in front of a long list of great wide receivers, but that is not how he looks at it.
"I don't think of it as being No. 1," Woods said. "I feel a part of an elite group, I feel like I'm together with them, a part of history. I feel like I'm just doing the right things as a receiver here at USC to keep it going in the receiver tradition."
Even though Woods was a star coming out of high school, and winning a starting job during his first training camp at USC, he never let his accolades get to his head, and he did not focus on setting records.
"I came into college just wanting to play and be a part of the team," Woods said. "I never really knew that I was going to grow into being who I am in this offense. But I'm still just out here trying to make plays in this offense, and I'm trying to do it every week."
Woods is from Carson and graduated from Serra with a 3.5 grade point average, has a simple message for kids that are playing youth and high school football.
"Stay in school," Woods said. "Mr. Lewis (pointing towards Jeff Lewis, Sentinel Photographer) was my middle school teacher (at Curtis Middle School), and he was always on me. He said to stay focused in school, and there is always time for fun. But you can always put in work for an hour or two to get ahead of the next person."
Being humble and working hard has made it extremely easy to root for a guy like Woods, and he is not letting the community that he came from, or his team down.