Twice this week I have heard Donovan Woods’ high school football career described as “a man among boys.”
The first time an Oklahoma friend of mine used the phrase to question whether Woods, a great quarterback in his state’s Class 2A division, could have been that great playing at the 5A or 6A level.
“Everyone has their own opinion, and they will say what they want to say, but in 2A I did what I had to do and was successful. I can’t let what people say determine the way I play and what I do,” said Woods, who quarterbacked Oklahoma City Millwood to three straight Class 2A championships in 2000, 2001 and 2002.
Woods can really answer the skeptics with just one word: Rashaun.
Rashaun Woods, his big brother, has already broken just about every receiving record at Oklahoma State and is considered one of the best — if not the best — college wide receivers in the country.
“He also came from Millwood,” little brother pointed out. “That (2A) doesn’t determine what kind of athlete comes out of there. It just happens to be the classification we were put into.”
Donovan Woods started his high school football career as a freshman wide receiver and strong safety but moved to quarterback his sophomore year.
In three state championship seasons, he completed 59 percent of his passes, throwing for 5,617 yards and 80 touchdowns. He also ran for 2,339 yards and 28 TDs.
As a senior, he completed 132 of 244 passes for 2,453 yards and 32 touchdowns with only six interceptions and ran 119 times for 1,081 yards and 15 touchdowns. That was good enough to make him Oklahoma’s Player of the Year in 2002.
That leads me to the second time this week that I heard someone use “man among boys” to describe the young quarterback. It was a coach trying to explain just how good this guy really is.
“I’ve been a college coach and I’ve coached in high school at every level from 2A through 6A, and I’m telling you he’s a player at any level. He’s definitely a top prospect,” said Jim Frazier of Cleveland, who will be Woods’ head coach Saturday night in the Oil Bowl.
Frazier is a guy who has seen a whole lot of football and a whole lot of quarterbacks. He played in the Oil Bowl 46 years ago, helping Oklahoma win for the first time against Texas, 20-7, back in 1957.
So when Jim Frazier talks football, I tend to listen closely.
“He’s a very versatile athlete who can throw the ball on a clothesline and also has good touch,” Frazier said of Woods. “He has also exhibited great composure and leadership. Add to that, he’s a fine young man.”
If Woods had turned down an invitation to play in this game, everyone would have understood.
His brother D’Juan broke his collarbone in last year’s Oil Bowl, causing him to have to miss the Oklahoma All-State Game later in the summer. Oklahoma State red-shirted him last year, but this year he will be lining up at wide receiver opposite big brother Rashaun, who was also an Oil Bowler in 1999.
Donovan Woods said he had some reservations about coming to the game after what happened to D’Juan, but thinks playing in the Oil Bowl “definitely has more benefits” than not playing.
“It’s a great opportunity, so I am jumping on it,” he said. “It was in the Lord’s plan for that to happen (to D’Juan). Whatever the Lord has in store for us, that’s what’s going to happen. “
So what does Oklahoma State have in store for Woods III.
The Cowboys will have an experienced quarterback in Josh Fields this year, but No. 2 on the depth chart right now is a freshman.
“We are just going to see how well I pick up the system,” Woods said. “It all depends on if I am ready to play or not.”
It would be special if he could play as a freshman because it would be the only time he will have a chance to throw passes to both of his brothers.
“It would be a great opportunity, but I also have to do what’s best for me. If red-shirting a year is what’s best, then that’s what I am going to do,” he said.
Frazier brought three quarterbacks to the Oil Bowl and said he will utilize the strengths of all three Saturday night.
“They all three have good track records — Donovan in state championship games and the other two have been successful in outstanding 6A programs,” Frazier explained. “Paul Smith (Owasso) is a drop-back passer. Mick Majors (Broken Arrow) is a sprint and scramble guy.”
And Donovan Woods?
“He’s a combination of it all,” he answered.
Sports Editor Nick Gholson can be reached before 4 p.m. weekdays by calling (940) 720-3447 or 1-800-627-1646 (extension 447). Or you can email him at gholsonn@timesrecordnews.com.