MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — One of Tennessee’s quickest prospects is still looking for his first major offer.
Knoxville Catholic cornerback Jeffery Wood was named “the fastest man in Tennessee” by Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh during Tuesday night’s satellite camp at Oakland (Murfreesboro) High. The relatively unknown 5-foot-9 recruit blew past the rest of the field — which included dozens of future Division I players — in two separate competitions measuring speed and agility.
Wood said he currently has offers from a pair of Division II schools and has developed strong relationships with Tennessee-Chattanooga and Memphis.
But those are small fish compared to the ones with which he’s currently swimming.
We caught up with Wood moments after he finished a post-camp conversation with Michigan tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh, who first noticed the Knoxville prospect this spring.
Wood told SEC Country he also spoke with the Tennessee staff on Tuesday night. Earlier this year, he impressed Volunteers coach Butch Jones at a Knoxville Catholic-Oakland scrimmage.
“He told me that he likes the way I play,” Wood said.
Wood, who transferred from Farragut (Knoxville) before his sophomore year, effectively missed two seasons of varsity football before being able to get his blazing speed on film.
The 163-pound prospect showed off his physical nature in the 1-on-1 portion of Wednesday’s camp. In two opportunities, he outmuscled a larger receiver to create an incomplete pass and later turned his head in textbook style, tracking down a 35-yard rainbow and snagging a diving interception near the corner of the end zone.
Wood has been showing off that potential at various camps this year, including Tennessee’s. Earlier this summer, he blew past many of the skill players the Vols have already offered.
“They had no idea who I was,” Wood said.
That went two ways; Wood said he didn’t watch the Volunteers while growing up in Knoxville, and “really didn’t like sports” in general as a kid.
Despite the distaste for athletics, his father forced him to play football when he turned 7.
“I was extremely scared,” Wood said. “I did not want to play. He would make me go in, and he would tell the coaches to start me. I ended up being really good at it.”
Now, he’s making waves. His 7-on-7 team finished in the Top 10 at last year’s national IMG Academy tournament, during which he “was balling on everybody.”
Wood also has some potential off the field. He dropped a rap mixtape this past February under the name SirPriz.
“People say you’ve gotta hang on to people that do the same thing you do,” Wood said. “But none of my friends play football. Some of them will end up never doing anything in their life, and some of them will end up being really smart. I’ve got a friend that does video. I’ve got friends that rap.”
A buddy from Farragut inspired him to get into hip-hop recording and performance. Wood might eventually pursue the hobby further, but he’s completely focused on going to college to play football at the moment.
His “dream school” is Arizona State. He attended a recent Sun Devils camp and maintains a relationship with defensive backs coach TJ Rushing.
“I like hot weather,” Wood said. “I wanted to play down in Florida, but I don’t like the humidity. It could’ve been California, I don’t know. There’s just something about Arizona State. The weather is very beautiful.”
He admits he’s small in stature, but Division I coaches have been getting an up-close look at why size might not matter for this Tennessee kid.
“I’ve been getting interceptions and getting the fastest 40s at every camp,” Wood said. “I think the thing that’s holding me up is my size, but I’ve been running over people ever since freshman year.”