Stony Brook University started off their football season with a victory, as they took down No. 19 North Dakota on Thursday, Sept. 1 at Kenneth P. Lavalle Stadium. Senior defensive back Jaheem Woods made such an impressive effort and contribution to the defensive side of the football that he earned two prestigious defensive accolades.
The senior out of Neptune, New Jersey was named the Colonial Athletic Association Football Defensive Player of the Week. His performance was so recognized throughout the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), that he also earned STATS FCS Defensive Player of the Week. Woods is the second player from Stony Brook to earn that accolade after Victor Ochi achieved it in 2015. Ochi then graduated Stony Brook after the conclusion of last season and was signed by the Baltimore Ravens shortly after the NFL Draft in May.
In Stony Brook’s 13-9 win over North Dakota, Woods recorded a career-high 11 tackles, a career-best five tackles for loss, and a career-high three sacks. Woods’ third sack was crucial to Stony Brook’s victory because it pinned North Dakota deep in its own territory and eventually led to a game-winning blocked punt. The senior defensive captain was a vital component of a dominant effort by the Stony Brook defense, which held North Dakota to only 177 total yards.
“It’s a big honor coming off what I had to go through the last three years from two ACL surgeries,” Woods said. “So it’s really big to see me back on my feet and show the progress I’ve made over the years. I don’t think I’ve been this healthy since high school.”
Woods has fought extremely hard to get to this point after tearing his ACL twice and was limited to eight games in his junior year. Stony Brook football’s head coach Chuck Priore can finally see the athlete he recruited in full strength.
“When we recruited him, he was one of the best athletes we’ve ever had our hands on,” Priore said. “We saw that early in his freshman year, and right at the end when he was redshirting, he tears his ACL. Both injuries happened at inopportune times when he had to go into the next season six or seven months off surgery.”
Priore added that the combination of his health and playing one position consistently has helped him be more successful.
Stony Brook’s defense finished No. 1 in the FCS in 2015. The defense held opponents to a nation’s best 250.1 yards per game and Woods wants to keep that defensive prowess alive and consistent throughout the season.
“We have a target on our backs from being No. 1 in the nation last year. We want to show we’re still the same thing.”