The sheer numbers Jahad Woods posted as a junior in 2019 indicated the Washington State linebacker would be one of the top returning defensive players in college football this fall, provided the season happens in the first place.
That was reaffirmed Monday morning when Woods was one of 13 Pac-12 players named to the watchlist for the Bednarik Award, which recognizes the nation’s best defensive player.
The other Pac-12 players named to the list included Stanford’s Paulson Adebo; Cal’s Camryn Bynum and Kuony Deng; Oregon’s Jevon Holland and Kayvon Thibodeaux; USC’s Talanoa Hufanga, Drake Jackson and Jay Tufele; Colorado’s Nate Landman; Washington’s Elijah Molden and Levi Onwuzuriuke; and Oregon State’s Hamilcar Rashed Jr.
With Cal’s Evan Weaver, a Spokane native, now graduated, Woods becomes the Pac-12’s top returning tackler. He had the fourth-most tackles in the country last season, and second-most in the Pac-12, when he accumulated 141. Those were the fifth-most in WSU history and the most by someone in a single season since 1991.
In addition to his 141 tackles, which also marked the first time a WSU player went over 100 since Peyton Pelluer in 2015, Woods led the Cougars with 10 tackles-for-loss and added three sacks, three pass breakups, two forced fumbles and one interception.
Woods was named All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention for the second straight year and now enters his senior season with 287 career tackles and 25 ½ tackles for loss, now needing just 30 to move into the school’s all-time top 10 and 65 to push Pelluer out of the top five.
He also has a chance at moving into the top 10 for career tackles for loss, needing only six this fall to slip past Xavier Cooper for the No. 10 spot.
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