'He's an anchor': Austin star defensive lineman headed to South Alabama

Dec. 21—Coming into the 2023 season, the Austin Black Bears were putting an emphasis on defense.

It paid off in a big way as the Black Bears finished with the No. 5 scoring defense in Class 7A, holding teams to an a average of 16 points a game.

To be that good, however, you need talented players, especially when playing in the state's largest classification. This season Achilles Woods was a star for Austin.

The 6-foot-4, 250 pound defensive lineman finished the year with 82 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and eight sacks as he led the Austin defense to a tremendous season.

"He's an anchor," said Austin head coach Jeremy Perkins. "You can't be good defensively if you're not good in the trenches. To have a guy like him with his size, athleticism, power and strength was huge."

Now after completing his career at Austin, Woods' talent is taking him to the next level.

On Wednesday Woods signed his National Letter of Intent to play football for the University of South Alabama.

"A lot of people have the dream to play college football as a kid, so definitely means a lot to me," Woods said. "South Alabama, Mobile, it just felt like home."

After three seasons as a starter at Austin, Woods finished with a career 182 tackles, 22 tackles for loss and 13 sacks. He said he has come a long way since he was a sophomore.

"I was thrown into the fire as a sophomore, but this year everything just came easier," Woods said.

Perkins said Woods was one of the most improved players he's had at Austin.

"Physically he improved on his athleticism and his power, but he also grew in maturity a lot," Perkins said. "The way he handled things, the understanding of his job and being a leader, he really grew in those areas."

Woods will be joining the Jaguars as an early enrollee in January.

"I don't know what it's going to be like, but I'm excited," Woods said.

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