Top 2013 Prospect Nick Wood Chooses Georgia
by Ali Jones
, 9 January 2012
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Late in the summer, after Nick Wood was sidelined with a stress fracture in his elbow that required surgery, he decided to use the down time to get his college search out of the way. Applying the same work ethic that has propelled him to Tennis Recruiting's elite Blue Chip ranks, Wood took unofficial visits to Southern California, Alabama, Florida State, Tennessee and Georgia.
The decision ultimately came down to a pair of Southeastern Conference rivals: Tennessee and Georgia.
"I definitely did my homework on the schools," said the junior from Knoxville, Tennessee. "I looked hard before I made the decision. Georgia was where my heart was. Right when I got there I just knew it."
He felt an immediate bond with the current Georgia squad, which includes friends such as Nathan Pasha. And he's close with a pair of 2012 graduates who recently committed to play tennis for the Bulldogs, Casey Kay of Alpharetta, Georgia, and Austin Smith of Cumming, Georgia.
In the end, Wood's memories from the magical childhood trip to Athens and the more recent memories from his unofficial visit won out. When Head Coach Manny Diaz extended an invitation to join the Bulldogs, "I just took it," said Wood.
"It was the hardest decision I ever made in my life," Wood said of his verbal commitment. "It was really tough."
The idea of playing for his hometown University of Tennessee Volunteers was attractive, and the allure was made even stronger by his close relationship with longtime Associate Head Coach Chris Woodruff, a former Tennessee standout and successful ATP touring pro.
"I've got a really good relationship with [Woodruff]," he said. "I've known him almost my whole life. I've hit with him from time to time. I'm a huge Vols fan."
But his emotional attachment to Tennessee was offset by an equally powerful attraction to the University of Georgia, dating back to his first years in junior tennis.
"I've wanted to go to Georgia since I was very little," he said. "At 10 years old my dad took me to watch the NCAA nationals in Athens."