Charles Woodson is one of America’s most celebrated football stars. An Ohio native, Woodson would not let his childhood ailments impede his athletic progress. As a freshman at Ross High School, he would hone his gridiron skills as he rushed for a school-record of 2,028 yards and 218 carries. and was named Ohio High School Player of the Year. Woodson completed his standout varsity performance with 3,861 rushing yards and 466 points. His impressive skill set would unleash an avalanche of scholarship offers from all over the country, yet Woodson had his sights set on the University of Michigan. Woodson’s defensive and offensive contributions to the Wolverines’ his junior year were second to none. He would make history as the first primarily defensive player to win the prestigious Heisman Trophy. Woodson would forgo his senior year as he was selected fourth overall in the 1998 National Football League (NFL) draft by the Oakland Raiders. In his first season as a professional football player, Woodson was awarded the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year for his five interceptions. He would be named to the NFL Pro Bowl and earned All-Pro recognition three consecutive years. In 2006, as a free agent, Woodson signed a seven-year deal with the Green Bay Packers who would go on to win Super Bowl XLV. For his dynamic performance in Green Bay, Woodson earned the 2009 AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He is ranked sixth of all-time in interceptions (65), tied with the most defensive touchdowns (13), and is second of all-time in interceptions returned for touchdowns (11). After a successful 18-season career in the NFL, Woodson would retire in 2015. The NFL honored his dedication to his craft as he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2021.
After his retirement, Woodson would continue to have a voice in the game of football when he joined ESPN and Fox Sports covering college football as a sports analyst. Woodson is also just as passionate about his philanthropic work, establishing the Charles Woodson Foundation. His partnership with the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and the Von Voigtlander Women’s hospital has focused on clinical research and engagement in early-stage projects in pediatric care. A champion on and off the field, the Woodson Foundation has provided multiple scholarship funds for young promising students, one of which honors his mother Georgia A. Woodson.