Part of the reason is his work ethic. Smith says he's been around few players who can match Woodyard's daily desire to excel.
"I love the way he loves the game of football and his commitment, dedication and respect he shows the game. When he comes to the practice field, he is all out. He practices as hard as he can practice from the time it starts until the time it ends," Smith said. "That is what has made him such a good football player. He loves the same sport that I love. He has shown it the respect it deserves by his actions on the field.
"I think somebody in the NFL should definitely take a shot on him. He will find a way to contribute and a way to win whether it is on defense or special teams, just like he has done here."
For as long as he can remember, Woodyard wanted to be a college football player. "My sophomore year in high school, I knew I was good and I had to make sure what had I had to do to get to this level. I never quit working for that goal," Woodyard said.
His high school coach, Steve Pardue, has coached numerous Division I players. He knew Woodyard had potential that was being overlooked. Pardue had coached Woodyard's uncle, Shante Woodyard, who was also a late bloomer before eventually playing at Purdue. He thought Woodyard would be the same way and would not give recruiters film of his junior season.
"I thought he was good player as junior, but not a great football player. I told coaches they had to wait for his senior year and I would get film out early on him. I thought he would be good. He was good as a junior, but I knew he could eventually be a SEC player. He started out his senior year just like I thought he would, making a lot of plays," Pardue said.
"Kentucky got on him earlier than everybody and he came in my office and said he wanted to commit to Kentucky. I said, 'Wesley, are you sure? Are you really sure.' He sat there for a minute, and said he wanted to do this and he did," Pardue said.
He was projected as a safety at UK, but when the team needed help at linebacker his freshman year, he made the move. "At the time, I was about 190 pounds and thinking in a 3-4 defense, that was not that big. But the coaches wanted me to move there, so I took it on with a full head of steam and got better. It worked out well," Woodyard said.
He also turned into a recruiting specialist for the Wildcats and takes pride in convincing players like former high school teammates Braxton Kelley and DeMoreo Ford to join the team as well as other players.
"Besides playing the game of football, I love giving back to the community. So I take it upon myself to bring guys in here that can make sure our program is going in the right direction it needs. Even here, I am constantly talking to the guys in high school (at LaGrange) and making sure they get their lives together. Guys have followed me up here and I would like to think I am kind of doing a good job of getting guys up here," he said.
"Wesley takes it personal, even to the point that I have to tone him back when he is trying to recruit one of our kids," Pardue said. "The thing about him is he is a winner and understands you need good players to win."
Telling it like it is for recruits
Woodyard says there's no secret to his recruiting style. He's honest with recruits about the Kentucky program and makes them feel comfortable.
"I treat them straight and let them know what it is like. I just basically make them feel like a family up here," Woodyard said.
Woodyard takes it personal when a player he hosts for a visit doesn't come to Kentucky.
"I like to keep account of the guys that didn't come here that I hosted. Coach (Joker) Phillips always tells me that I got a lot of guys here, but I think about the guys I didn't get and wonder what I did wrong so that the next guy I host, I won't do the same thing wrong again," Woodyard said.
Pardue is not surprised that Woodyard developed into an all-conference linebacker as well as a terrific recruiter.