UMass gets its man: Three-star running back Lorenzo Woodley III signs with Minuteman football



Last modified: Thursday, April 25, 2013

Early last week, the University of Massachusetts wasn't really even on Lorenzo Woodley's radar yet. But some coaching shifts at BCS conference schools he was considering early in the off-season led to some changes in those program's recruiting priorities.

The UMass coaching staff pounced quickly, scheduling a visit last weekend with the running back from Miami, who was rated a consensus three-star back from all of the major recruiting services. Woodley liked the staff the campus and the opportunity to play early. On Thursday he signed with UMass.

Just after 10 a.m., Woodley tweeted his decision.“With much thought and prayer I have decided to sign with the University of Massachusetts! #UMass, #Minutemen, #ZooMass”

UMass coach Charley Molnar said things came together fast.

"He was a available and we had a need. He had a number of options on the table and some of them were pretty compelling to him. He was very highly recruited," Molnar said. "We happened to catch him at a moment in time were some of the things he was most interested in didn't seem so promising. We got him up on a visit and showed him that we had a definite plan for him for how he could help our football team and how we could help him in the classroom and on the field."

Woodley was excited about his decision.

"The opportunity UMass had for me. The relationship with the coaches. Their willingness to wait and extra day for me showed how much they wanted me and I appreciated that a lot," he said. "I'm happy with the opportunity I have there to come in and contribute to the team early."

Woodley liked the idea of being part of an up-and-coming program.

"If I could be the person that helps change the program around, I'll be extremely and feel like I accomplished something," Woodley said.

Molnar thought Woodley had star potential.

"He has great leg drive, excellent vision. He runs with power and is also shifty. He's 200 pounds and looks skinny," Molnar said. "With some time n the weight room, he'll be a 220 pound running back by the time his career is over. He has excellent feet and great contract balance. He has the makings of being a championship running back.

Signing Woodley is a milestone occasion for the Minutemen from a fan interest standpoint. For decades while the school was in the Championship Subdivision, the only recruits most UMass supports paid any attention to were transfers from Bowl Subdivision schools. Even then fans were only interested after the player came on board.

Woodley was the first high school player that UMass was recruiting that fans in great numbers paid attention to during the process, the first one they monitored, hoping he’d sign.

On Tuesday night, UMass fans sent scores of tweets to Woodley encouraging him to choose the Minutemen an event that showed both the early stages of UMass’ fan base evolution and the growing role of social media in the recruiting process. Woodley said that influenced his decision.

"It show how badly the school wanted me. It helped a lot. I showed me I'd be happy when I go up there," Woodley said. "It made me feel like I'm what they needed."

The fact that their encouragement was successful will likely inspire fans to pay more attention to the process going forward.


 

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