Danny Woodhead
Woodhead with the Patriots in 2011
No. 39     San Diego Chargers
Running back
Personal information
Date of birth: (1985-01-25) January 25, 1985 (age 35)
Place of birth: North Platte, Nebraska
Height: 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m) Weight: 200 lb (91 kg)
Career information
College: Chadron State
Undrafted in 2008
Debuted in 2009 for the New York Jets
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2012
Rushing yards     1,263
Rushing average     4.8
Rushing TDs     10
Receptions     100
Receiving yards     1,069
Receiving TDs     4

Daniel Frank Henry Woodhead (born January 25, 1985) is an American football running back for the San Diego Chargers of the National Football League (NFL). He was signed by the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent in 2008. He has also played for the New England Patriots. He played college football at Chadron State.

Woodhead set several NCAA college football rushing records, including single season rushing and all-time rushing. In 2006 and 2007, he won the Harlon Hill Trophy, awarded to the best player in NCAA Division II, making him the third player to win the trophy twice in its history (the other players are Johnny Bailey and Dusty Bonner). On October 6, 2007, Woodhead became the NCAA all-time, all-division leading rusher. Woodhead held this record until it was broken by Mount Union College running back Nate Kmic on December 13, 2008.[1]

Early yearsEdit

Woodhead played football at North Platte High School in North Platte, Nebraska, and broke many records. North Platte reached the state finals in 2001, with Woodhead's help after beating Millard North High School team 24-21.[citation needed] Woodhead blocked a field goal attempt late in the fourth quarter to give North Platte possession with only minutes left. North Platte's Ben Woodhead, Woodhead's older brother, threw a pass down field to set up a game winning field goal by Jake McCarthy.[citation needed] However, North Platte went on to lose the state championship 28-14 to Millard West High School.

In Woodhead's junior season, his team went 8-1 in the regular season, and won two games in the playoffs before falling to Millard North in the semifinals.

Woodhead's senior season, North Platte had its first undefeated regular season in 40 years, going 9-0. The team went on to beat Omaha North High School in the first round of the playoffs, Bellevue East in the second round, and finally lost to Millard North 21-7 in the semifinals for the second year in a row.[citation needed] Woodhead finished as Nebraska's Class A leading rusher, as well as Nebraska's Class A all-time leading rusher with 4,891 yards (2000–2003).[citation needed] North Platte High's quarterback that year, Derek Enderle, also finished as the state's leading passer.[citation needed] This marked the first time in North Platte's history that the football team finished with the state's leading passer and rusher in the same season.

College careerEdit

In 2004, Woodhead began attending Chadron State College in Chadron, Nebraska, where he rushed for 1,840 yards as a true freshman. Woodhead was the first recipient of a full athletic scholarship at Chadron State in its 96-year history.[2]

In 2005, Woodhead carried the ball 278 times for 1,769 yards, averaging 6.4 yards per carry, and 21 touchdowns. He also had 30 receptions for 367 yards, averaging 12.2 yards per reception.

In 2006, through 12 games, Woodhead rushed for 2,740 yards, a new all-division single season rushing record,[3] surpassing Kavin Gaillaird. Including the playoffs, his rushing yards in 2006 totaled 2,756. He also led his team to the NCAA Division II playoffs in 2006, losing to Northwest Missouri State. Northwest Missouri State managed to hold Woodhead to a season low 16 yards rushing on 16 carries while giving up 79 yards receiving, which was more than double anyone on the Northwest Missouri team. Chadron also had 327 yards of total offense compared to Northwest Missouri State's 306.

Through 39 games, Woodhead’s 606 points equated to 15.5 points a game, the highest ever in NCAA Division II. Only Dan Pugh of Mount Union College, a Division III school in Ohio, with 248 points in 2002 and Barry Sanders of Oklahoma State with 234 in 1988, had ever scored more points in a season than Woodhead scored in 2006. However, in 2007 Abilene Christian University's Bernard Scott broke Woodhead's Division II record by scoring 39 touchdowns (234 points).[citation needed]

Woodhead accumulated 7,441 yards on the ground, for his career, giving him a career average of 190.8 yards per game. He rushed for more than 200 yards in 19 of his 39 appearances and scored in 37 consecutive games, both of which are NCAA all-division records.

After a 208-yard game against Western New Mexico in 2007, he became college football’s all-time leading rusher, breaking the record previously held by R.J. Bowers, who played for Grove City College, a Division III school in Pennsylvania from 1997–2000.[1] Woodhead is also just the sixth NCAA Division II player to rush for more than 1,000 yards in four seasons.

He has also recorded 9,259 all-purpose yards, which ranks second on the NCAA all-time list. Brian Westbrook (Villanova, 1997–2001) currently holds the record with 9,512 total yards of offense.

Woodhead is also tied with Germaine Race (Pittsburg State 2003–2006) for first place in Division II in career scoring with 654 points on 109 touchdowns. Race is also the all-time leader in two two-point conversions for 658 points. Woodhead is only the second player in collegiate history to score more than 100 touchdowns.

Barry Sanders is the only college player to accumulate more all-purpose yards than the 3,159 that Woodhead gained in 2006, as he gained 3,250 as a junior at Oklahoma State University in 1988, when he won the Heisman Trophy. Woodhead ranked 10th in Division-II in career all-purpose yards with 7,349 after his junior season. The Division-II leader is Brian Shay of Emporia State with 9,301 yards, including 1,207 on kickoff returns, 1995–1998.

Woodhead was a Harlon Hill Trophy candidate in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007, winning the award in both 2006 and 2007.

When interviewed, Woodhead stated that Nebraska never showed much interest in him and that he wanted to go somewhere where he was wanted. Chadron State showed a lot of interest in him, which is where he ended up.[4] While at Chadron State, he majored in math education.

College statisticsEdit

Year Games Rushing Receiving
Att Yds Avg YPG TD Rec Yds Avg YPG TD
2004 10 284 1,840 6.5 184.0 25 16 163 10.2 16.3 2
2005 10 278 1,769 6.4 176.9 21 30 367 12.2 36.7 0
2006 13 344 2,756 8.0 212.0 34 45 403 9.0 31.0 4
2007 11 250 1,597 6.4 145.2 21 38 484 12.7 41.0 2
Career 44 1,135 7,962 6.9 183.0 101 119 1,388 11.7 32.3 8

Professional careerEdit


Woodhead did not receive an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine so he had to use his pro day to show his abilities. According to a report on, he ran the 40-yard dash in times of 4.33 to 4.38 seconds which would have been the second-fastest among all running backs at the NFL Combine in March 2008. He posted the best pro-agility time of 4.03 seconds, the second-best vertical jump (38½ inches) and the best 60-yard shuttle time (11.2 seconds). He also bench pressed 225 pounds 20 times.[5]

New York JetsEdit

Woodhead went undrafted in the 2008 NFL Draft. However, he received a call from the New York Jets moments before the draft ended, about the two parties coming to an agreement on an undrafted rookie free agent contract. It was announced shortly after, that Woodhead had signed a deal with the organization.[6]

On July 26, 2008, Woodhead was waived/injured by the Jets after being carted off the field due to an injury. He spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve.

On September 3, 2009, the Jets faced the Philadelphia Eagles in a preseason matchup. During this game, Woodhead rushed for 158 yards, the NFL's second-highest preseason total since 1992, and two touchdowns.[7] Woodhead initially survived final cuts in September 2009, only to be waived a day later on September 6. He was re-signed to the Jets' practice squad on September 8.[8] In October, Woodhead was moved from running back to wide receiver and on October 17, he was signed to the active roster after Jerricho Cotchery and Brad Smith became injured.

Woodhead saw his first regular season action on October 25, 2009. In the 38–0 win over the Oakland Raiders, Woodhead rushed three times for 24 yards.[9]

He was waived on September 14, 2010.[10]

New England PatriotsEdit

Woodhead was signed by the New England Patriots on September 18, 2010, one day before the team's Week 2 matchup against the Jets.[11] The team had an open roster spot for Woodhead after the trade of Laurence Maroney; Woodhead was inactive for the game, which saw longtime Patriots third-down running back Kevin Faulk go down for the season with a knee injury. On September 26, making his Patriots debut as well as his first career start, Woodhead had a 22-yard touchdown run against the Buffalo Bills, his first NFL touchdown. In Week 4, Woodhead added an 11-yard touchdown reception in a win over the Miami Dolphins. Against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 11, Woodhead had a 36-yard touchdown run in a Patriots win.

On November 19, 2010, Woodhead signed a two-year contract extension with the Patriots, through the 2012 season.[12]

Woodhead finished the 2010 season with 3 starts in 14 games played. He had 97 carries for 547 yards (5.6 yard average), and five rushing touchdowns. He also caught 34 passes for 379 yards and one receiving touchdown.

On February 5, 2012, Woodhead made a catch in the second quarter of Super Bowl XLVI to score a touchdown for the New England Patriots. The New York Giants went on to beat the New England Patriots 21-17. Woodhead ended the game with 4 catches for 42 yards and ran 7 times for 18 yards.[13]

San Diego ChargersEdit

Woodhead agreed to terms with the San Diego Chargers on March 15, 2013.[14]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Chadron State's Woodhead becomes all-time rushing leader". October 6, 2007. Retrieved November 21, 2008.
  2. Beech, Mark (October 22, 2007). "How's He Look Now?". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved September 21, 2010.
  3. "Chadron State RB sets NCAA season rushing record". Associated Press. November 25, 2006.
  4. "Interview with Danny Woodhead - Only Player to Rush for More than 2700 Yards in A Season". December 13, 2006. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  6. "Jets ink rushing leader Woodhead to free-agent deal". April 28, 2008. Retrieved September 18, 2010.
  7. "Vick rushes for TD, sacked four times as Jets beat Eagles". Associated Press. September 3, 2009. Retrieved September 2, 2010.
  8. Hutchinson, Dave (September 8, 2009). "NY Jets sign RB Danny Woodhead to practice squad". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  9. "Woodhead makes NFL debut in win over Raiders". North Platte Bulletin. October 25, 2009. Retrieved October 26, 2009.
  10. Vrentas, Jenny (September 14, 2010). "Receiver David Clowney re-signs with the Jets; Danny Woodhead waived". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved September 18, 2010.
  11. "Ex-Jet Woodhead joins Patriots just before big game". September 18, 2010. Retrieved September 18, 2010.
  12. Rapoport (2010-11-25). "Thankful for each other, Patriots and RB Danny Woodhead reach a long-term contract extension". Boston Herald. Retrieved 2010-11-25.
  13. "Scoring Summary". The Indianapolis Star, page X12. Monday, February 6, 2012.
  14. Henne, Ricky (March 15, 2013). "Chargers Nab Dynamic RB Danny Woodhead". Retrieved 2013-03-15.

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