University of Virginia football coach Bronco Mendenhall indicated he had allotted scholarships to use for transfers this offseason, and hinted at the possibility of transfer news coming sooner rather than later.
“We know the transfer portal and the one-time transfer rule is going to happen and be in effect here,” Mendenhall said during a December 16 press conference on Virginia’s recruiting class of 2021. “We all know that will happen. And so I’ve left some room, not a lot, but some room to address what I see within our team, through spring and the offseason, to then say okay we better add this player that player this player through the portal just to give us the experience we need and that time will be probably, it could be earlier than normal, but it also could be a little bit later based on again what I think our team needs. So that’s as far as I’ll go with that. I’ve just left ourselves a buffer, which is how I’ll put it.”
So far, transfer news – more specifically, graduate transfer news – has come quickly for the Hoos, who landed a commitment from Louisville graduate transfer cornerback Anthony Johnson on December 21 and have now gained a commitment Oklahoma State grad-transfer tight end Jelani Woods.
Blessed to announce that I will be continuing my career at The University of Virginia. I will like to thank @UVACoachBronco @CoachAnae @Coach2J for the amazing opportunity and I’m ready to get to work. #GoHoos #Virginia #Wahoo pic.twitter.com/ojCyfBNOId
— 🌹LANi 🌹 (@jelani_thegreat) December 25, 2020
Woods, who stands 6’7” and weighs 275 pounds, fills an immediate need for the Cavaliers. Virginia’s star tight end of 2020, Tony Poljan, is setting his sights on the NFL following a productive first and only season in Charlottesville. Poljan, who enrolled at UVA as a graduate transfer out of Central Michigan last summer, hauled in 38 receptions for 411 yards and six touchdowns this season.
Virginia returns scholarship tight ends Grant Misch and Joshua Rawlings and welcomes incoming first-year Jack Witmer to the program next summer. However, only Misch has played significant snaps. Woods, who hauled in eight receptions for 129 yards and a touchdown as a redshirt junior in 2020, totaled 31 receptions for 361 yards and four touchdowns in his Cowboys career.
After redshirting as a true freshman in 2017, Woods was “a regular weapon in the Cowboy attack before injury held him out of the final two games of the (2018) season” according to OSU’s official site. As a redshirt sophomore in 2019, the Ellenwood (GA) native totaled 16 catches for 112 yards and a touchdown on his way to earning Honorable Mention All-Big 12 (Coaches) honors.
OSU compiled a 7-3 record in 2020. In addition to his receiving stats, Woods was a quality blocker in the run game, grading out at 72.6 in that category according to Pro Football Focus.