Earlier this week, former Michigan football player LaMarr Woodley was at Delta College for the Black Lives in America panel discussion. Woodley, along with four other panelists, discussed a wide range of topics about how important it is to go back to your hometown after you’ve found success, and also how important it is to give back to your hometown community.
Woodley is very involved in his hometown of Saginaw. You can read more about his love and passion for his hometown here.
Maize and Brew caught up with Woodley after the panel discussion and asked him some football related questions.
You were at the Signing with the Stars event a few weeks ago. What was that experience like for you?
Woodley: It was great because the year before I didn’t get a chance to go! So it was great. It’s always great to be around Coach Harbaugh and the staff and some of the new recruits that are going to be the future of our program. I think it’s nice. You get to hear the inside of some of the ex-players and the coaches, and just the feel of it — it felt good to be back.
Speaking of recruits, what was your recruiting process like?
Woodley: Mine was just I said “I was going to Michigan.”
It was that easy, huh?
Woodley: “Yeah, I mean I was a top-rated guy. I had a chance (to do my announcement) because I was a highly rated person. So they invited me down to Ohio to some big press conference they were having but I said I wanted to announce mine at Saginaw High School. I wanted to do it with my other teammates, my guys that were out on the field with me grinding. I wanted them to share that experience with me. I wanted it to be about my school and the other guys. I wanted the press to come there to see me but not miss out on the other guys. Everybody got equal love because they helped me put me in that position. So I would be wrong if I was to have a solo act, but it was a group act.
Did you get to talk to any of the recruits at Signing of the Stars?
Woodley: Nah, not really. I didn’t get a chance to share a lot of information with them. But the good thing is I live here in Michigan. I can always get back to Ann Arbor so talking with the student-athletes would never be a problem.
What was Coach Lloyd Carr like?
Woodley: Great! Great guy. Coach Carr taught you how to be a man, taught you how to be professional. Whenever you did an interview at the University of Michigan, you did it with a collared shirt on, no ear rings. He always talked about being shaved the correct way and looking presentable. At the time, when you come in as a young student-athlete, you don’t understand that. You know, “why do I gotta wear a suit to every game?” Because he was preparing you for life after the game, and I think that’s what Coach Carr did a great job of doing for those who listened to him and followed what he was saying. And to this day I have a great relationship with Coach Carr because he played a major role in helping me with who I am today by teaching those valuable lessons. You understood once you got to (the NFL) and everybody wasn’t like that, you said “Coach Carr was preparing us for something different.”
Final question for you, you’ve played for a lot of really good coaches in your career. What’s one main takeaway that one coach has taught you throughout your entire career that still sticks with you today?
Woodley: Man, I can’t say just one coach because a lot of coaches have said a lot of things. But for me, I had a more personal relationship with my high school coach, Coach Don Durrett. The reason I had that personal relationship with him is because growing up with him in Saginaw, Saginaw High School was a professional team to me, so I had a chance to be in the crowd and watch Coach Durrett on the sideline. He was the principal at the school, he was teaching at the school, so there was a chance to talk with him every single day and seeing him every single day. It was all about discipline with those types of coaches. They would cuss and yell at you, it was like havin your dad there, so I learned a lot from Coach Don Durrett. Another great coach — and this is basketball — Coach T, Coach Marshall Thomas. Man, just...once again, watching him from the sideline and I quote a lot of stuff that he does. I have the utmost respect for both Coach Durrett and Coach T, just learning so much from them. Because when you’re young, they’re feeding you a lot of information that is gonna stick with you for the rest of your life! And those kinda things always stuck with me with those two guys. They taught me so much. To this day, my relationship with those guys is just great.
Woodley is now a host on the NFL Network series ‘Tackle My Ride,’ where he and co-host James Torrez surprise fans with current NFL players from their respective cities and ramp up their current car into the “ultimate fan car.” For more on that, click here.