STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) – Then there were three.
Tuesday night prior to his game with Starkville High School, Columbus 4-star standout Robert Woodard announced he has signed with Mississippi State to continue his basketball career.
The state’s top player and Gatorade Player of the Year then promptly responded with 14 points, 12 rebounds, 7 blocked shots and 4 steals in the Falcons’ come-from-behind 64-62 win.
He joins Reggie Perry (5-star) and EJ Stewart (4-star) in MSU’s stellar signing class that now has a No. 12 composite national ranking by 247Sports, No. 3 in the SEC.
“I just felt like it was the best situation,” said the 6-foot-6 small forward, whose dad, Robert, played at MSU from 1987-90. “Mississippi State has some great coaches as well as a great team with a lot of potential. I felt like it was either now or never. They have a team that is more like a brotherhood as well as a team.”
Woodard, who led CHS to the 2016 Class 6A title, is ranked 56th overall nationally and the 13th best small forward.
“We are very elated and so excited to have Robert come to Mississippi State,” MSU coach Ben Howland said. “He is everything you want out of player. He has the skill level, is a great competitor and plays with great toughness. On top of that, he’s an incredible young man who is involved in choir and is a really good Christian young man. Plus, he comes from a wonder family. It is definitely a great day for Mississippi State.”
Stewart, a native of Grace, Miss., has been unstoppable in his highly-touted career at Riverside.
Tabbed as the No. 2 prospect in Mississippi, he averaged 18.9 points and 9.7 rebounds as a junior and is listed as the 31st best small forward in the country.
“When you go somewhere, you just get that feeling," the 6-6, 196-pound Stewart said. "You get that vibe that you belong there, and that's the feeling I got when I went to Mississippi State and when I was around the players and the coaches.”
Stewart will bring with him a diverse skill set with the ability to defend at either the point, two-guard or small forward position. He can also shoot from the perimeter and has shown the propensity to play both the two and the three.
“I’m extremely thrilled about DJ,” Howland said. “He’s a phenomenal athlete who is also a very good shooter. Until this year, he was a two-sport player. He’s very gifted, and he’s a going to be an outstanding defensive player for us. He’s also a fine young man who comes from a great family. I’m really excited about his future.”