Records are made to be broken. Recently in the sports world, we’ve seen Ray Allen’s three-point record splashed away by Stephen Curry, Roger Maris’s American League single-season home run record crushed by Aaron Judge, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time career scoring record that is to be broken by LeBron James very, very soon.
All of these athletes leave their mark on the game they play with record-breaking performances and seasons, similar to Makhail Wood, who is signed to Eastern Michigan University football’s 2023 recruiting class.
Wood was born in Orlando, Florida, moving to Georgia in the fifth grade, where he continued the remainder of his schooling. Along the way, Wood discovered football and the sport has stuck with him ever since.
"In Florida, I started with flag football then started playing tackle," Wood said. "It’s been something that I never fell out of love with."
After making the move to Georgia, Wood spent his first year of high school at Decula before moving again to Mill Creek High School, where he emerged as one of the next top up-and-coming football stars to come out of the state.
In his first two years at Mill Creek, Wood didn’t see the field as much as anticipated. As he knew the skill and impact that he brought to the table, he also understood the importance of learning from who’s in front of you so you can fill the shoes, which propelled his career in the right direction.
"I went from not playing my sophomore year to starting in my junior year," Wood said. "I had to fill a lot of shoes and I think that I did a great job of it."
During his two-year tenure as a varsity starter for Mill Creek, Wood racked up numerous regional, county, and state awards for Georgia high school football; two 1st team All-Region awards, two 1st team All-County awards, 1st team All-State, honorable mention All-State, and All-Finals team selection as a kick returner.
While doing that and making a name for himself in the state of Georgia for football, Wood was also becoming a football legend at Mill Creek.
By the end of his high school football career, Wood broke a total of 14 all-time football records in Mill Creek’s history.
"It was different for sure," Wood said. "All of those records mean a lot to me."
Along with those records came something else. Something bigger.
As Wood was making a name for himself as one of the best in his state, his team was becoming one of the best in Georgia. With not many more records to break, Wood had his eyes on the prize: a state championship.
After a heartbreaking loss to Buford in the 2021 playoffs, Wood and his team were more hungry than ever to compete for a state championship in 2022.
So hungry, that Wood even stated in a postgame interview in August with Twitter user @AmariaZachery "We’re excited, pumped up, we are going to win a state championship this year."
And that they did.
In December of 2022, after beating Carrolton High School 70-23, Wood and Mill Creek were named Georgia 7A State Champions, a reward that came after many hours, days, and months of dedication.
"After the loss to Buford we had to get better than what we already were," Wood said. "So just staying dedicated, working hard, and coming to practice every day with a different mindset, it helped us capture it."
Winning a state championship isn’t easy, or else everyone would do it, and along with Wood on that Mill Creek roster were more top players in the state of Georgia that were key in getting the job done.
Notable teammates of Wood’s at Mill Creek were Caleb Downs, a five-star recruit by 247sports who ranked as the sixth overall high school football player in the nation, and is currently signed to Alabama’s 2023 recruiting class; Jamal Anderson, a four-star recruit by 247sports who is signed to Clemson’s 2023 recruiting class and the son of former NFL running back, Jamal Anderson; and Hayden Clark, the quarterback who led Mill Creek’s offense and is committed to Washburn University.
"Not only have one leader, they all stepped in and played a huge role," Wood said. "Caleb’s been doing it since his freshman year, Jamal since sophomore year, and then me and Hayden stepped in junior year and we came out with a ring."
While Wood’s football career has ended, the real journey is just beginning.
After making a name for himself in Georgia, many top college football programs began calling.
Wood held football scholarship offers from the University of South Florida (USF), Georgia Southern University, Army Westpoint, and his final decision: Eastern Michigan University.
Wood officially signed with EMU in December of 2022 and became a part of the best recruiting class in the Mid-American Conference for 2023 and in EMU football’s history.
"The culture, the people, and the coaches in Ypsilanti made me feel at home on my visit," Wood said when asked about why he chose EMU. "I never disliked anything about them."
Along with the star recruits, EMU just capped off their best season in history since 1987: first nine-win season since 1987, first bowl game victory since 1987, marked their fourth consecutive bowl game appearance which is the most in program history, and the Michigan MAC trophy for the first time since 2012.
With all the success that Wood has earned and the success the EMU football program has reached over the past couple of years, Wood is eager to contribute to that and reach new heights with EMU football.
"Hopefully next year we can have an even better season," Wood said. "They are getting a receiver who can do it all."
Wood shared a couple of team goals he has set that he wishes to accomplish: winning more bowl games, going undefeated, and winning a MAC championship.
"I really hope I just become a better person and player. I know EMU will do that for me," Wood said. "I want to leave my legacy there."
When asked about any messages Wood wanted to send to the EMU football fans, he responded:
"Go Eagles. Let’s do this."
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