The Wolverine

September 2014

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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  WHERE ARE THEY NOW? BY MICHAEL SPATH H igh school teammates and best friends growing up in Saginaw, LaMarr Woodley and Jerome Jackson made a pact to attend Michigan together, and in their dorm room freshman year they also vowed to return to their roots and make a difference. On June 13-14, Woodley hosted his seventh annual golf fundraiser and free youth football camp, benefitting the youth of his hometown. "When I was younger, I went to Terry McDaniel's football camp — he played for the Raiders and was from Saginaw — and that was always a camp every kid loved," Woodley said. "I feel I've stepped into his shoes and it's my responsibility to service this community. "I try to bring at least 10 NFL guys each and every year, and make the camp bigger, giving away book bags and other free stuff. This year, we're running an academic portion because I want the kids to understand that in order to be an athlete in high school or college, if you get the chance, you have to have the academic side." Woodley was one of those kids dreaming of something bigger, dreaming of a way to escape the hardships of Saginaw, and athletics paved the way. He was ranked as a five-star recruit and the No. 14 prospect nationally in the class of 2003, and he would fulfill his hype by starting 33 games over his four-year career at Michigan from 2003-06 while finishing third all time at U-M in tackles for loss (52.5) and fourth in quarterback sacks (24). Woodley and Jackson, however, almost starred for Michigan State. "Everyone out of Saginaw was going to Michigan State during that time," Woodley said. "Charles Rogers, my cousin, Jeremiah McLaurin, Ron Stanley, Cliff Ryan were there for football, and Jason Richardson went there for basketball. "It was the place you went because it was like home and you wanted to keep that Saginaw pipeline going." Woodley's mother was pushing the academic angle, though, and with Michigan State in transition between head coaches Bobby Williams and John L. Smith, Woodley gave U-M a longer look than he might have otherwise if Williams was secure in his role. "I had an opportunity to go anywhere in the country, but I chose Michigan because they proved to me that it was about more than football," Woodley said. "The football program was elite, but they stressed the academic part more than any other school I visited." Woodley's experience at U-M did not come without growing pains. There was friction with head coach Lloyd Carr sometimes while the headstrong freshman, then sophomore and junior, matured mentally. "At first, you don't understand the point of why he doesn't want you wearing earrings during an interview, why he wants you wearing a collared shirt, why   WHERE ARE THEY NOW? LaMarr Woodley Is Eager To Prove He Can Return To Top Form

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