Gar-Field linebacker Mason Woods roams the field against Osbourn on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019 in Manassas.

For a school that featured no Virginia players on its 2019 roster, Louisiana Monroe has made a recent impact on in-state recruits.

In the last week, the Warhawks received commitments from four in-state players, starting with Gar-Field senior linebacker Mason Woods July 21. Salem running back/linebacker Zavione Wood and defensive backs Jayden McDonald and Jorden McDonald followed up Saturday with their decision to join the FBS program.

The four met for the first time Sunday at a local combine. Woods introduced himself to a group he described as “VA to LA.”

Louisiana-Monroe offered Woods July 17. Although he had offers from 11 other schools, Woods wanted to make a decision as soon as possible. Woods said the coronavirus has accelerated recruits’ timetable in committing. Once the Warhawks offered, Woods made his move.

“I feel like with the pandemic, other players are rushing through the process and that’s affecting everyone else,” said Woods, who received offers from Howard, Towson and Liberty among others. “Before recruits were sitting on their offers, but now everyone is picking up the pace. I didn’t want to be that person on the fence when I have opportunities right in front of me.”

Woods said he felt like Louisiana-Monroe gave him the best chance of improving as a player.

“I can still develop and not hit a block and be in the same place,” said Woods, the 2019 Cardinal District Defensive Player of the Year.

The Warhawks became interested in Woods after Gar-Field head coach Tony Keiling sent out tape. Louisiana-Monroe started following Woods in March.

The Sun Belt Conference program went 5-7 last season under fourth-year head coach Matt Viator.

"They provided a good virtual tour and staff introduction," Keiling said. "It's FBS and Mason is eager to play at the next level."

David Fawcett is the sports editor for InsideNoVa.com. Reach him at dfawcett@insidenova.com

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