Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Coach | 2023 DE & Notre Dame Target Peter Woods "Mature Beyond Years"

May 16, 2020

Mark Freeman recognized what was coming, so the Thompson High School head coach didn’t waste anytime when it came to Peter Woods‍.

“We brought him up as an eighth-grader and started mixing him with our freshman team,” Freeman says of the 2023 Alabama defensive end. “When he was in middle school, we actually let him come up and play freshman ball. He dressed with us during the playoffs that year because we knew we had a special guy on our hands.”


The 6-foot-4, 250-pounder proved himself enough as a freshman this fall that he currently counts Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Penn State, USC and – as of Thursday – Notre Dame among several others on his offer sheet.

“Obviously, he has God-given size and strength, great awareness,” says Freeman. “He’s got really, really good hands and instincts to be a freshman in high school. But none of that matters if you don’t have the size and obviously Peter has the size.

“He’s just one of those rare athletes who is mature beyond his years both mentally and physically. He’s really a hard, hard worker. Great kid.”

Off the field, Freeman calls Woods “a great person. Very mature for his age.”

“He’s a leader,” the coach continues. “He pushes himself real hard and encourages his teammates. He’s everything you look for in a football player.”

Woods told ISD the Irish offer is one he’ll take a serious look at, which doesn’t surprise Freeman.

“We all know the history and tradition of Notre Dame, so I know it’ll mean a lot more than the average offer because of how high we feel about Notre Dame, the institution, the history and the school itself,” the coach says.

Freeman and his staff are staying engaged with their players during the Coronavirus Shutdow.

“We’ve got to deal with it,” he says. “We tell our kids every day, ‘In life, you can’t worry about things. You have to adjust. We have to live life with what we have an opportunity to control and we can’t control any of these. All we can do is battle further and take whatever the situation and prepare ourselves.’”

Freeman doesn’t want his players to lose sight of what football brings in terms of camaraderie, love and appreciation for each other and the game itself.

“As a family, as a team, we’re moving on as a team. We’re limited, but we Zoom meet, we have group chat. We’re keeping our kids in front of our face and keeping ourselves in front of the kids’ face.”

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