Josh Woods scored a touchdown as a junior wide receiver at McDonogh in his first start during a home victory against Bishop O'Connell.
Woods, now a junior at Maryland, wouldn't mind repeating that first-start magic Saturday when the Terps play in their homecoming game against Purdue.
This time, it would come as a safety.
Woods, who came to Maryland as a 6-1, 170-pound receiver, will make his debut as a starter on defense. Now 205 pounds, Woods takes over for one of his closest friends, Denzel Conyers, who tore his ACL at Central Florida Sept. 17.
"It's definitely something special, but if you make it more than what it is, you can psych yourself out," Woods said Wednesday. "That's when you start making mental errors and trying to do things that's not in your game.
"It is my first collegiate start, but that's really just a title. It doesn't really matter. It's a team game, I'm just trying to do my job, so there's no fall-off basically."
According to Maryland defensive coordinator Andy Buh, Woods picked up right where Conyers left off after replacing him in the second half of Maryland's 30-24 double overtime win at Bright House Networks Stadium Sept. 17.
The Terps (3-0) were off last week.
"Josh Woods came into the game midway through and we didn't miss a beat," Buh said Wednesday. "I think that says a lot. It told us a lot. He went in there and was really productive for us, didn't make any mistakes."
Woods said that he was thinking about Conyers when he took over.
"The first thing I said was, 'I've got to ball out for Denzel,'" Woods said. "He's not going to go down in vain. I feel like I played well, I graded out pretty high. Coach [DJ] Durkin commended me afterwards in our team meeting, there was no fall-off. I didn't make any great plays, also no blown coverages."
Said Durkin, "Josh has looked good. Him and Denzel had been competing for that spot all along. Josh came into the UCF game and played really well. He's conscientious. He really cares. He's constantly trying to learn and he's playing at a high level. I think that he's up for the task and he'll do a great job replacing Denzel."
Woods said that the transition from wide receiver to the secondary was not easy. Still, no matter what he has learned since Durkin and Buh took over the defense, Woods has to take the right mindset on the field with him.
"It's more like, 'Am I going to be the one getting run over or am I going to put you on my highlight tape at the end of the season?" Woods said. "That's kind of what it is. It's more like sacrificing your body for the betterment of the team. As I'm running up to tackle a guy, it's like, 'I'm not going to miss this tackle.' There are 10 other guys counting on me."
Woods jokes that he doesn't "go home and watch UFC videos or listen to rock music to get pumped up." He has spent time watching tapes of some of the NFL's best safeties, from late Washington Redskins star Sean Taylor to future Hall-of-Famer Ed Reed with the Ravens to Tyrann Mathieu of the Arizona Cardinals.
"Just guys who make plays, guys who you always hear were all over the field making plays, making big hits, touchdown-saving tackles, open field tackles, always around the ball, to see what they did differently than other guys and how I can make my game like theirs," Woods said.
Asked if he'd like that first highlight tape to be a big hit or an interception, Woods smiled.
"I don't know," he said. "I think big hit, actually. Interceptions are going to come. Like I said, what my game once lacked was an aggression. That first huge hit, I'm definitely looking forward to that one. That's going to be fun."