Blue Hens have high hopes for young DT Woodson

Last fall, 6-foot-2, 290-pound defensive tackle Blaine Woodson was named the Defensive Rookie of the Year in the Colonial Athletic Association. Now, as they get ready for their season opener against Jacksonville on Sept. 4, the Hens are expecting even bigger things from Woodson. (UD sports information/Mark Campbell)

Last fall, 6-foot-2, 290-pound defensive tackle Blaine Woodson was named the Defensive Rookie of the Year in the Colonial Athletic Association. Now, as they get ready for their season opener against Jacksonville on Sept. 4, the Hens are expecting even bigger things from Woodson. (UD sports information/Mark Campbell)

NEWARK — The college football world, says Dave Brock, has only started to see what Blaine Woodson is capable of.

“He should be unblockable in his fifth year,” said Brock, the Delaware football coach. “He should get it stopped before it’s started three years from now.”

Even right now as a redshirt sophomore, though, Woodson might be the best defensive player the Blue Hens have.

Last fall, the 6-foot-2, 290-pound defensive tackle was named the Defensive Rookie of the Year in the Colonial Athletic Association. Now, as they get ready for their season opener against Jacksonville on Sept. 4, the Hens are expecting even bigger things from Woodson.

The thing Brock wants Woodson to realize is that he can be a team leader right now. He doesn’t have to wait until he’s older.

“He’s beginning to come out of his shell a little bit,” said Brock. “It’s hard. Kids look around and, at the end of the day, they do feel like they should yield to a kid who’s been here longer.

“But he, right now, is the most accomplished player we have on defense.”

Woodson knows he’ll be something of a marked man on the Hens’ defensive front this fall. He was named to the all-CAA preseason team.

“Things are different,” said Woodson. “I’m going to get a lot of double-teams this year. Teams are going to focus in on me and see how they can find different ways to block me. It’s just all about shedding blocks and driving offensive linemen back.

“But I just try to help the team as much as I can. I try to do what I can to help us be better instead of focusing in on the hype.”

A year ago, Woodson finished fifth on the team with 51 tackles. That included 11 stops for losses of 52 yards as well as a school freshman record of 8.5 sacks.

He even placed 14th in voting for the Sports Network Jerry Rice Award as the country’s top rookie at the NCAA Division I FCS level.

“I knew Blaine was going to be a good player when we stepped on campus here,” said center Brody Kern, another redshirt sophomore. “Me and him got along instantly when we got to Delaware. He’s quick off the ball and good with his hands. We knew.

“He’s the same guy he was when he got here. When one of us gets a good block on him or something, we’ll let him know afterward. I know he’s going to have another good season.”

Woodson knows one good freshman season doesn’t make a career. But there’s signs that he hasn’t let a little success go to his head.

In spring practice, he was named the Blue Hen Touchdown Club Most Improved Defensive Player.

“I definitely want to improve,” said Woodson. “I have a lot of improving to do. There’s still things that I’m learning. I’m working on pushing offensive linemen back farther.”

“He’s a grinder, a worker,” said Brock. “From that standpoint, I’m really proud of him.”

Hens hurting a little

The Hens are starting to get a little thin at a few different positions.

Delaware lost a pair of receivers last week in Jerel Harrison (arrest) and Troy Gallen (leg injury). Gallen was a promising true freshman last year who went down with a season-ending injury in the third game of the season.

Now he’ll have to miss this year as well.

That has led to Delaware trying Jamie Jarmon as a receiver this week. The former Indian River High standout has already played quarterback and safety since joining the program in the spring.

The Hens may also be without sophomore cornerback Malcolm Brown, who is reported to be the teammate that Harrison alledgedly hit with a helmet in a locker room altercation.

While university officials have not identified the other player involved, UD police said the alledged victim sustained a broken jaw. Brown wasn’t on hand at Delaware’s Media Day on Sunday.

Since the end of last season, the Hens have also lost cornerback Roman Tatum and linebacker Donte Raymond to off-the-field issues. Raymond and Harrison combined for 21 starts last season while Tatum and Brown played in 23 games.

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