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UMass football has shot at three-star recruit

Letters of intent will start flowing out of the University of Massachusetts football office’s fax machine early this morning as part of national signing day.

After a late push and visit last weekend, one of those letters could come from Lorenzo Woodley III. The running back from Miami, Fla., is ranked three stars out of five by ESPN, Rivals, 24/7 Sports and Scout, which would make him one of the highest-rated recruits in UMass’ class.

According to the Miami Herald, Woodley listed South Florida, Cincinnati, North Carolina State and Purdue as his finalists in the fall, but all four schools made coaching changes. Woodley reopened his recruiting and took an official visit to UMass this weekend. His high school coach Chris Merritt told the Herald he enjoyed the trip.

He also holds offers from Mississippi State, Tennessee, Rutgers, Vanderbilt, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Florida State, according to the recruiting websites and is still considering South Florida and Cincinnati.

Woodley spent much of Tuesday night on Twitter, retweeting messages sent to him by fans of various schools, extolling the virtues of their teams. Quite a few of those messages came from UMass fans.

Shane Huber, the linebacker from New Jersey who decommitted from then recommitted to UMass, tweeted that he’d sign his letter at 7 a.m. and then encouraged UMass fans to keep tweeting at Woodley: “#UMassNation keep showing @LorenzoWoodley love ! Let’s get him on board !”

Peter Angeh, a defensive end from Maryland who is also headed to UMass, followed Huber’s lead, tweeting at Woodley, “(Shout out) to the bro @LorenzoWoodley ! Keep showing him love #UMassNation ! Show him where home is!”

STAFFORD ON THE WAY — One letter expected in the late morning will come from Todd Stafford, a 6-foot-5 quarterback from Greenwich, Conn., who has a 10:30 a.m. signing ceremony.

Jarrett Shine, Stafford’s coach at the Brunswick School, thinks UMass is getting a great quarterback.

“He’s a very tough player, mentally tough. He’s a big, physical kid who was definitely a leader for us this year,” Shine said. “In my opinion, UMass is getting a steal. I think he’s going to be a star in a couple years. I think he’s going to be a really good quarterback for them.”

Stafford tore his ACL as a junior, but returned to throw for 1,700 yards, 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in seven games as a senior.

“He fell in love with the coaching staff,” said Shine, who said Stafford had interest from Miami (Fla.), Boston College, Penn State and Duke. “UMass offered him first and he loved the coaching staff and the campus.”

McCUTCHEON ON IHEDIGBO — UMass athletic director John McCutcheon said he felt a measure of excitement seeing former Minuteman safety James Ihedigbo win the Super Bowl Sunday night.

“We’re very proud and excited for James and what he’s accomplished coming from UMass, particularly as a walk-on and a local student athlete from Amherst,” McCutcheon said. “To think he’s been able to go on and earn a Super Bowl ring is fantastic. We feel great for him. He’s carried the banner of UMass athletics and UMass football proudly.”

WALLACE HEADS WEST — Former UMass offensive lineman John Wallace, who elected to transfer after the season, will attend Sacramento State, a Championship Subdivision school. He’ll have three years of eligibility remaining and will be eligible immediately.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Follow UMass coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/GazetteUMass. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.

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