VALPARAISO | Greg Wood doesn’t expect to hear his name called during the NFL Draft later this month. The Valparaiso senior punter is only hoping for an opportunity to get into training camp.
Wood may have improved his odds after participating in a workout with the Bears at Halas Hall last Friday. Following the workout, Wood received a call from a scout asking to schedule an outdoor workout in the coming weeks.
The Libertyville native landed the workout after impressing scouts at a kicking combine at Northwestern last month.
“My goal in all of this is just to be on the radar,” Wood said. “I won’t be disappointed if I’m not drafted. I won’t even be disappointed if I’m not picked up (after the draft). I am just hoping for an opportunity. I got one on Friday and I did well enough to create another opportunity.”
Wood began kicking when he was nine after his father built a field goal post in the backyard of the family's home. Wood was a tight end in high school as well as a basketball player, but he knew that his future was in punting.
“I was always an athlete, always considered one of the guys, but I knew that kicking would be what I did once I went away to school,” Wood said. “I’d hear the occasional kicker jokes from people, but once you’re in college, you’re here for a reason. Your skills have gotten you this far.”
Wood played on the Valparaiso reserve team his freshman year and then jumped on the scene as a sophomore when he averaged 43.6 yards per punt, including a 71-yard punt in the season finale against Morehead State. Wood was named the team MVP as a sophomore, something that he took pride in despite the Crusaders failing to win a game.
“I’m just as competitive as the next guy, so the losing was tough,” Wood said. “I always pride myself on being the best. First I wanted to be the best on the team, then the best punter in the game we were playing. I had a job to do and it didn’t matter what the score was. My coaches relied on me to do a job and I worked hard so I wouldn’t falter for my teammates.”
Wood said he was the only punter the Bears brought in last Friday and he was confident that he answered every challenge that was put in front of him. Valparaiso coach Dale Carlson has long referred to Wood as a very “coachable” athlete and Wood tried to use that to his advantage on Friday.
“I got to meet the special-teams coach (Joe DeCamillis) and I did everything he asked me to do,” Wood said. “I came out of it that their interest was piqued. We’ll see where that goes. I’m realistic. Most of us (punters) get picked up in free agency; we get brought it to push a starter. All I want is to continue to create opportunities.”