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Georgia Southern Hires TJ Woods to Coaching Staff

Georgia Southern University has hired TJ Woods to its coaching staff as the offensive line coach and run game coordinator:

TJ Woods, who has 20 years of collegiate coaching experience, has been named the offensive line coach and run game coordinator for the Georgia Southern offense, as announced Tuesday by head coach Clay Helton. Woods comes to Statesboro after two seasons as the UNLV offensive line coach where he added the title of co-offensive coordinator in 2022. Prior to UNLV, Woods was Utah State’s offensive line coach in 2019, where he helped four offensive players earn All-Mountain West honors. Furthermore, USU’s offense set school records in passes completed (315) and attempted (504), while its 3,628 passing yards are the second-most.

“Kelly and I are humbled to be part of such a prestigious football program in Georgia Southern,” Woods said. “We value the opportunity to work for a tremendous head football coach in Coach Helton, who has a proven track record of winning. We are excited for our family to be a part of this great community of Statesboro, and we can’t wait to get to work.”

From 2021 to 2022, when Woods was the co-coordinator at UNLV, the Rebels averaged nearly six more points per game. He mentored center Leif Fautanu to all-conference honors as the Rebels scored 18 rushing touchdowns and produced a 1,000-yard rusher for the second consecutive season.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring TJ Woods to Georgia Southern as our new Offensive Line Coach and Run Game Coordinator,” Helton said. “Having experience in both the Big Ten and the Pac 12, TJ is known as one of the country’s premier developers of offensive linemen. Under his guidance, several of his players moved on to the NFL and have had successful careers. In his time at Wisconsin, he produced one of the all-time great running games in college football history, helping Melvin Gordon to a Doak Walker award and the second-most yards in a single season in FBS history. Eagle Nation, please help us welcome Coach Woods to Statesboro.”

Before returning to Utah State, Woods spent the 2018 season as the line coach at Western Kentucky. From the 2017 to 2018 season, Western Kentucky’s rushing yards per game improved by 75.98, eighth-best nationally, and its yards per carry increased by 1.72, fifth-best nationally. Furthermore, WKU allowed 16 fewer sacks in 2018 as compared to 2017, the 10th-best improvement in the nation.

The move to WKU followed a three-year stint at Oregon State, where he coached four linemen to All-PAC-12 honors and saw two of his linemen – Sean Harlow (Atlanta Falcons 2017 fourth round) and Isaac Seumalo (Philadelphia Eagles 2016 third round) – drafted into the NFL. Under Woods’ direction, the Oregon State offense carried the ball for a school-record 5.2 yards per carry in 2016. Furthermore, seven of his offensive linemen were named to the PAC-12 Conference All-Academic team during his time in Corvallis.

Prior to Oregon State, Woods served as the offensive line coach at Wisconsin, where his group helped block for running back Melvin Gordon in 2014 when he won the Doak Walker Award and was a Heisman Trophy finalist. That season, Gordon rushed for 2,587 yards, the second-most in a single season in FBS history, and set then-FBS single-game rushing record with 408 yards.

Behind Woods’ offensive line, Gordon and fellow running back Corey Clement set the NCAA record for rushing by two backs with 3,536 yards. That 2014 season also saw the Badger offensive front set a school record for the fewest sacks allowed with 13, as well as a Big Ten Conference record with 4,482 net rushing yards.

In his first season with Wisconsin in 2013, the Badgers set a then-school record with 3,689 rushing yards, to go along with a school record 450.8 yards per game of total offense. With Woods’ offensive line leading the way, Gordon and fellow running back James White became the first running backs in NCAA history to each eclipse 1,400 rushing yards in the same season.

In all, Woods mentored seven All-Big Ten players at Wisconsin, including four All-Americans, highlighted by Rob Havenstein, who was selected by the Los Angeles Rams in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Before Wisconsin, Woods spent four years at Utah State (2009-12), including the final two directing the offensive line. The Aggies rewrote the offensive record books by setting then-school records for total offense in consecutive seasons, concluding with 6,108 yards in 2012.

Woods coached five players to All-Western Athletic Conference honors, including Tyler Larsen and Philip Gapelu in 2011. Larsen, who earned second-team All-America honors as a senior in 2013, is now a six-year NFL veteran having spent the past four seasons with the Carolina Panthers.

A former player at Azusa Pacific (2001-02), as well as Iowa State and Citrus Junior College, where he earned NJCAA All-American, honors in 1999, Woods got his coaching start as a graduate assistant at Azusa Pacific in 2003.

After a two-year run as the school’s tight ends coach, where he coached Ricky Burgan to NAIA All-American honors, he spent a season coaching the offensive line at Citrus before going to New Mexico for two seasons to serve as a graduate assistant on the offensive line. Offensive lineman Eric Cook was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the seventh round of the 2010 NFL Draft, while Byron Bell was named a freshman All-American in 2008.

Woods and his wife Kelly have two daughters, Madison and McKenzie. A 2002 graduate from Azusa Pacific with a business degree, Woods continued to pursue his education and earned his Master’s in physical education from Azusa Pacific in 2005.


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