Peyton Woodyard: Nation’s No. 2 safety compares his feelings about UGA to a blockbuster Marvel movie
Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s the Intel. This rep has the latest with 5-star junior safety Peyton Woodyard. He ranks as the nation’s No. 2 safety and the No. 28 overall prospect for 2024 on the 247Sports Composite ratings.
There’s a lot to like about 5-star safety Peyton Woodyard. We don’t even need to dip into his junior highlight reel to be impressed by what he brings to the table.
Considerate. Engaging. Intelligent. Respectful.
Those words all fit with Woodyard here.
He put up a tweet honoring his Grandpa Jerry on Friday. His grandfather was a veteran and he shared a tweet thanking all veterans for their service on Veteran’s Day.
He’s got a branch of his family tree that will include former Notre Dame All-American and NFL first-round pick Kyle Hamilton. Their fathers are second cousins.
Woodyard took an impactful unofficial visit last weekend to Georgia for the Tennessee game. He had two good days in The Classic City to get a strong idea of what life might be like for him in the red and black.
He’s actually taking a hip-hop class right now in school. Part of that curriculum is to come up with some of the arrangement, the hooks and the bars for his own rap song.
If he had to write a few lines about this recent trip to Georgia, he’d have the phrase “Endgame” in it. That’s a nod to the blockbuster Marvel movie that dethroned “Avatar” as the highest-grossing film of all time.
“Just like ‘Endgame’ there you know?” he said. “You know how ‘Endgame’ is like it? The end? Kind of like the Final Four in March Madness. It is like that. Kind of just like that. That’s kind of how I picture it.”
The two-sport star also plays baseball in high school. He hit a home run with that line. We’ve heard 5-stars and witty athletes use perceptive terms to describe their process before, but nothing quite like that.
Woodyard now already knows the ‘Dawgs will be in the thick of it when the time comes to make that fateful snap in his recruiting journey.
“They are definitely a school I can see myself at,” Woodyard said. “They solidified themselves as one of my favorites. For sure.”
What did he learn the most about a potential future in Athens with that visit?
“Shoot, I don’t know,” he said. “I just feel like I’ve got a stronger feeling of like how they feel about me and how I feel about them. I really liked it a lot. I feel like that’s what I really got out of the visit and I can definitely see myself there and they are definitely for sure up there for me in the ‘Endgame’ and all. That’s kind of what I got out of this trip.”
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What did Peyton Woodyard like best about his recent UGA visit?
When he thinks of this trip to Athens, an obvious answer will come up first.
“Everyone probably says the atmosphere but I feel like you have got to say that,” Woodyard said. “It was crazy. Just the amount of people there. Even when it was raining it seemed like it got even louder. That in itself just made me excited about Georgia and then from the warmups pregame to the actual game. The intensity was there. I like the way Georgia does things over there.”
He was at the Notre Dame-Ohio State game earlier this year. Woodyard has a lot of respect for what he saw and the show those teams put on that night.
But he also knows what he saw when the national champions took down top-ranked Tennessee. Has he ever experienced a game atmosphere like that one before?
“I don’t think so,” he said. “That was crazy. It was just like people were all on the rails. Not even in seats. Just people everywhere. All the seats were filled and everything was just filled up. Everyone was watching the game. It was all about Georgia football. It was also the loudest [college football] game in a decade I heard. Or something? Yeah, that was crazy.”
Woodyard has already learned about the ‘Dawgs from his visits up to this point. He spend a good time in Athens over the summer. He knows all about The Georgia Way on the practice field.
“I liked how it looked how the players on the field were definitely having fun,” he said. “Working hard all week. You know how Georgia practices. They practice hard. I learned that over my last visit. They really came in hard and it paid off in that game. I just really like how they left it all on the field and had fun. They were dancing and having fun and that’s what it is all about.”
There’s a scene in “Endgame” where Captain America is defeated. He looked like the Vols did before the rains came. But he still got up. Still kept fighting. That’s just before the classic “On your left” line was delivered.
Just like that. So many reinforcements started to show up on the battlefield to help him continue the fight.
That’s what happened last weekend. The ‘Dawgs brought a lot of those glowy spinny circles to the eventual decision here. He got noticed on campus in Georgia gear and the fans screamed “Go ‘Dawgs” to him on campus and at the airport.
“They’d say ‘Go Dawgs!’ or ‘This is home’ and it was. just cool seeing all of that,” he said. “I definitely like that about the program.”
Georgia stacked up the reasons for him to think hard about playing between the hedges one day.
“Yes,” he said. “Most definitely. That’s definitely the case. They’ve got a lot of kids there that I know. I just felt really comfortable there. I got to hang out with [Georgia freshman OT] Earnest Greene III and he came from Bosco. It is just great being able to talk to him.”
“Then all of the other  recruits. A lot of the other recruits committed there. A.J. Harris. Joenel [Aguero]. Justyn [Rhett]. I was at breakfast with Justyn and coach Fran. It was just cool being able to connect with those dudes. It reminds me a lot of Bosco that’s what I really liked about all that.”
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Peyton Woodyard: What does he like best about Georgia right now?
Those two words would best answer the questing in the subhead up above.
His family booked that trip well before the Tennessee game became the biggest home game matchup among ranked teams in Georgia football history.
“Just wanted to see if maybe it could feel more and more like home when I go up there,” Woodyard said last week prior to the trip.
He wanted to see a great atmosphere and the Sanford Stadium crowd certainly over delivered on that front.
Greene, as mentioned up above, has been telling him that Georgia is the place to be.
“He’s always telling me he is always going to let the coaches know ‘We have got to get you here, man’ and he keeps telling them that,” Woodyard said. “That’s my guy and I would already know someone that I am really cool with if I were to go there. That’s definitely a little helper for them at Georgia.”
He has already been impressed this season with how Georgia has prepared 5-star true freshman safety Malaki Starks to play impact football in the SEC right out of the gate.
“I definitely admire that and the thing that really stands out to me about Georgia is they run a very similar defense to Bosco,” Woodyard said before his recent UGA trip. “Almost identical. I know [defensive back] coach Fran [Brown] and [co-defensive coordinator] coach [Will] Muschamp will get me ready for the next level. I’m just excited for the opportunity there and just being able to be able to go in there and make an impact right away like him.”
He said his opinion of Georgia is “always ascending” with every interaction with the staff and program.
“I think they will ascend even more when I get back out there,” Woodyard said just before his game visit last weekend.
They did just that.
Woodyard spent last Saturday and then Sunday morning in Athens. His parents came with them and collectively Team Woodyard spent a lot of time with Georgia’s staff. Especially Brown
He wasn’t sure which day he liked better. That’s good since the main reason he came out to Georgia this time was to really soak up the gameday experience in Athens.
“You can tell Georgia does a really good job of disguising their coverages in real life,” Woodyard said. “When you watch it on film, then you are like ‘Oh, this is what they are running’ and they check to this. But in real life, that’s what I was really impressed with was how they run their defense. They were just really good at disguising stuff. Shoot, I like how their DBs played. As soon as [Tennessee] caught a three or four-yard hitch, they were getting tackled with a knockback tackle and I liked that.”
Every recruit can say “felt like a priority” on a big visit. That’s become somewhat cliche over the years. Woodyard has specific examples where he was able to realize that the staff at UGA really wants him to play for the ‘Dawgs in 2024.
“Most definitely,” he said. “I just feel like Coach Fran [Brown] devoted a lot of his time to me and he’s definitely a good recruiter. He does a good job with all of his DBs. That’s why all the top DBs are already there. But I just felt like there were a lot of things that went into my visit. He has not just a great relationship with me but my parents. I want to say he probably spent more time with them than me. He definitely is a great dude and I like everything that he is doing. You definitely can’t go wrong with going to Georgia. He’s going to bring the best out of you and you’ve got four DB coaches there in Coach Fran, [co-defensive coordinator] coach [Will] Muschamp and Kirby Smart and also [defensive graduate assistant] coach [David] Metcalf. They are definitely going to bring the best out of you at the safety position.”
Woodyard got to say what’s up to Smart after the game. Nothing major like on his previous trips. He did spend most of his time with Brown and also got good face time with coach Muschamp and coach Metcalf last weekend.
“I got to spend quality time with all of them but coach Fran he’s my guy for sure,” Woodyard said.
He said that his parents really were impressed by the visit. The time they spent with Brown and their connection to the Georgia staff has made them feel “comfortable” with the thought of sending him to UGA.
What’s up next for Peyton Woodyard?
He came into the visit with a certain degree of expectation.
Georgia was already in the mix among perhaps seven core schools that he is always making time for. He has a lot of schools hitting him up, but there is a select group he always tries to get back to when they hit him up.
He’d been able to go see both Oregon and USC play this fall. He also saw Ohio State play Notre Dame in the season opener.
Woodyard and his Bosco team won handily in the second round of the playoffs last night. His Braves had a first-round bye last week that allowed him and several other teammates to visit UGA for the Tennessee game.
As of now, he feels like his UGA trip will be his last game visit of the fall schedule. Bosco is chasing another state championship and nemesis Mater Dei looms for a rematch on the other side of the bracket.
“That’s the plan now,” Woodyard said. “Head down. Win this championship and we’ll see what’s next.”
There is a “probably” timeline for a decision sometime before his senior season, but he’s really just trying to slow things down and just weigh all his options.
“That’s what I am hoping,” he said. “I will have some more clarity by that time. I’m in no rush. I’m just praying on it for sure.”
What is he looking for in the perfect school?
“Just a great atmosphere,” Woodyard said. “To see if I can live there outside of football and just the relationship with the coaches is a big thing for me. Coach Fran [Brown] is always trying to be great in every aspect of his life. That’s something I am trying to do with how I live and that’s what I admire about him.”
Brown should be considered Woodyard’s best relationship at Georgia. He’s always talking to Woodyard’s family. His father, Gerald, is a Deputy Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department.
“Coach Muschamp is always telling me about how I know the defense and I just fit in perfectly there,” Peyton Woodyard said. “Coach Fran always says I am a great dude and a great player and how I would fit in. They’d never have to worry about me and I would fit in great over there.”
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