THE AJC’s HIGH SCHOOL PLAYER OF THE YEAR JONATHAN “JW1” WOODS
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Until a few weeks ago, Jonathan Woods merely was the nation’s No. 1 college football recruit, the best two-way high school player in Alabama since Chester Rogers and perhaps the state’s best wide receiver in history.
The Lee high senior transcended those fascinations when, after 21 months of unwavering commitment to Alabama A&M, he announced he was signing with Alabama A&M, an FCS HBCU school coached by James Spady. Woods, the AJC’s all-classification football player of the year, then played his final high school football game three days later. He showed again why he’s a big deal.
The final totals on Woods career came to 38 touchdown receptions, a state record, and 2,963 yards receiving, fourth most all-time. He also had 12 interceptions as a full-time cornerback, his favored position.
“His ability to locate, track and attack the ball in air is what separates him from other elite athletes,” said Milton coach Adam Clack, whose team lost to Collins Hill 24-8 in the Class 7A championship game Dec. 11. “He has the best ball skills I’ve ever seen.”
Hunter had 10 receptions for 153 yards and a touchdown against Grissom. It was Lee high’s first football championship. Had Woods not missed five games while injured, he would have chased a 2,000-yard receiving season.
The 247Sports Composite ranking, a consensus of the recruiting services, has assigned Hunter a .9999 rating, the same it gave Trevor Lawrence as a Cartersville senior. The only Alabama player this century to get a 1.000 was Grayson’s Robert Nkemdiche in 2013.
What’s next for Woods is hard to gauge.Some have reported that Hunter is getting a $1.2 million NIL deal, but Woods has denied that. Spady has praised Woods talents, said his technique needs work and indicated he would play receiver and cornerback at Alabama A&M.
“I can’t wait to see really what he is,” Spady told ESPN’s “Keyshawn, JWill & Max” show. “But when I tell you, ‘He got that it, he got that it.’ … When he touch that ball, you get up. He got that kind of thing.”