August 13, 2010

Wood maintains suspense until moment of announcement

The goal, Kameron Wood admitted with a laugh Friday night, was to surprise everyone.

Even some of Wood's closest friends, the Birmingham (John Carroll), Ala., defensive end/outside linebacker said, were betting each other about which school he would commit to at his school's annual preseason pep rally.

The consensus of Wood's pals prior to the announcement: Mississippi State.

The decision: Quite the opposite.

"That was my plan to get everybody thinking I was going to Mississippi State and then to go back to Ole Miss," said Wood, who committed to Ole Miss on Friday, becoming the 16th prospect to join the Rebels' 2011 commitment list. "I called them last night about 10 and told them I was going to come play ball for them. (Ole Miss offensive line) Coach (Mike) Markuson (who recruits most of Alabama for the Rebels) was really excited."

Wood chose Ole Miss over Mississippi State, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Memphis, South Alabama, Southern Mississippi, Troy and UAB.

"I liked Ole Miss because it's homey," said Wood, who camped at Ole Miss' elite camp in June and then took a return trip to Oxford earlier this month. "I like the campus because it's very lively. Even in the summer, the campus seemed full of energy. I liked the academic support. I liked (Ole Miss defensive coordinator) Coach (Tyrone) Nix and (defensive line) Coach (Terry) Price and I just really wanted to play for Coach (Houston) Nutt."

It was the conversations with Nutt, Wood said, that ultimately made the 6-foot-4, 220-pounder chose Ole Miss.

"Coach Nutt is who he is," Wood said. "He's not going to sugarcoat anything. He doesn't put on an act no matter who you are. He tells you what he expects."

Wood became the second Alabama native in the past week to choose Ole Miss and the third Alabaman to commit to the Rebels this summer. Gadsden City, Ala., wide receiver T.J. Worthy committed to Ole Miss in July and Madison, Ala., wide receiver Collins Moore gave the Rebels a pledge this past Sunday.

"Basically, what it is for guys like me, T.J. Worthy and Collins Moore is we're all just cheering for each other," Wood said. "The thing about Mississippi is all of us Alabama boys enjoy Mississippi. We're all family now. We're going to keep it rolling at Ole Miss."

Wood said he expects to play both outside linebacker and defensive end at Ole Miss, adding that the Rebels' defensive brass "showed me on film what I'll be doing" during his most recent trip to Oxford.

On Friday night, however, Wood wasn't thinking too far ahead. Instead, he was reveling in the fact that he was able to successfully pull off his much-wanted surprise and end the recruiting process at the same time.

"It's one hell of a relief, to be honest with you," Wood said. "I'm so happy it's over. I will not let go of this commitment. I'm not looking at any other schools. I'm so satisfied with Ole Miss. I'm going to stick to the commitment and honor it. Ole Miss is the school I can't wait to attend."

Wood said he plans to enroll at Ole Miss for the first summer term next year. The three-star prospect is ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 18 prospect in Alabama and the No. 20 weak-side defensive end nationally.

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