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Knight: Raymond Woodie brings quiet strength as USF defensive coordinator

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Raymond Woodie brings quiet strength as USF defensive coordinator

Saturday, August 20, 2016 8:18pm


TAMPA — Go back to the beach. Specifically, Daytona Beach, home to what was then Bethune-Cookman College. Backpedal to the era when the Wildcats frequently got sand kicked in their faces, only to spit it right back.

The Wildcats of a quarter-century ago, handcuffed by limited resources and — later on — a one-year NCAA probation, oozed far more grit than glamour. And few were grittier than Raymond Woodie.

A versatile defensive end who led far more by example than exhortation, Woodie bowed his head and lowered it with equal fervor. On game days he'd pray, then prey. He typically rushed off the edge, but didn't live on it. Some teammates figured if the pros didn't come calling for Woodie, the pulpit would.

"To be honest with you, we probably kind of thought Raymond would end up being a preacher. He was a real religious guy," said former B-CC teammate Jerrell Cogmon, a Plant High alumnus who watched Woodie evolve into a Division I-AA All-American.

"Always a smart guy, very intelligent and aware of his surroundings and things like that. Never really hung out and dabbled into the negative aspects of life."

Fast forward to Wednesday, and Woodie's back at the beach — only this time on the Gulf Coast. USF coach Willie Taggart has given the Bulls a respite from two-a-days with an afternoon on the Clearwater coast. Woodie, Taggart's first-year defensive coordinator ....


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