Auburn Football: 5 Louisiana Tech Players to Watch This Week

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Sep 6, 2014; Lafayette, LA, USA; Louisiana Tech Bulldogs defensive back Xavier Woods (7) carries the ball beside Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns wide receiver Al Riles (2) after an interception in the second half at Cajun Field. Louisiana Tech defeated Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns 48-20. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

#7 Xavier Woods, 5-foot-11, 188 pounds, Sophomore, Safety

Starting safety Xavier Woods is already a veteran on the Louisiana Tech defense despite being just a sophomore. Woods started ten games in 2013 as a true freshman and was very active for the LA Tech defense. He recorded 61 tackles, which was the fourth most on the squad, including three tackles for a loss and two pass breakups.

The young defensive back helped limit opponents, along with fellow members of the secondary Kentrell Brice, Adairius Barnes and Le’Vander Liggins, to 213.5 passing yards per game – an average that ranked in the middle of the pack in Conference USA, but was 31st overall nationally.

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  • So far this year, Woods has been even better. Through four games, the safety has made 17 total tackles, including a sack. Woods had an interception against Northwestern State last week, which was the second of the season for the sophomore. Two weeks earlier, he returned his first career interception for a touchdown against Louisiana-Lafayette. He’s also broken up a pass and forced a fumble.

    “Xavier Woods is just the consummate professional,” LA Tech safeties coach Blake Baker said in August. “He handles business on and off the field. As a sophomore, he’s got a real leadership role on this team and as he’s grown into that role he’s become more vocal, which I’ve kind of encouraged.”

    Of course, Woods and company will have their hands full with the Auburn football team, and specifically the Tigers’ offense, this weekend.

    “What they do is very non-traditional,” head coach Skip Holtz said this week in his media press conference. “Their quarterback is always a threat to run or throw. Their running backs are very big and physical. They run very hard and I think both are on the All-SEC team. It just goes to show you a little bit of the versatility that they have. Their offensive line is big and aggressive. They do a great job with the scheme that they run. They have a wide receiver (Duke Williams) who was the top junior college receiver in the country.”

    Woods and Williams are sure to meet on multiple occasions Saturday, how the young safety fares against the future NFL receiver will be a measuring stick for his own professional aspirations.