West Virginia defensive backs coach ShaDon Brown missed the first two days of fall camp with an illness.

While he wasn’t there in person, he asserted that he was there “in spirit, and watched every practice on film. After three days of camp, he came to a bold conclusion.

“Charles Woods is the best corner in the Big 12 in my opinion,” he said.

The senior cornerback enters his second year with the Old Gold and Blue, and despite a limited workload in the first part of 2021, he has been thrust into the leadership of the secondary. Woods even represented WVU at Big 12 Media Days in July alongside Dante Stills, Zach Frazier and Bryce Ford-Wheaton.

Woods played in 11 games for the Mountaineers after missing much of fall camp with an injury. He saw his role expand in the latter half of the season after a breakout game against TCU, and by the season’s end, he made unofficial history in coverage, with PFF College designating his play the best in Big 12 history by one of their metrics.

“Teams know that I’m one of the best corners in the conference, so they’re going to try to try me,” Woods said at Big 12 Media Days. “Now I have to work harder than I ever did before.”

If you ask his defensive backs coach, that hard work has paid off. Brown said that Woods’s improvement is apparent on the field on the first day of camp, and he is playing with a high level of confidence.

“Knowledge equals confidence which equals playing fast and he’s got it,” Brown said. “He’s improved his body, he’s improved his conditioning. I think he can cover anybody in the country.”

The biggest area of growth for Woods, Brown said, is in his intangibles. Woods has grown well into his leadership role, helping coach his teammates up as WVU welcomes a slew of newcomers into the secondary.

That, of course, helps make Brown’s job as a coach easier as well.

“The thing that he’s done that I’m proud of is he’s grown from a maturity standpoint and now he’s becoming a coach,” Brown said. “I can correct Charles on the field, and then get him to go coach another player up right after that. That’s where his growth has come, but I’m expecting a big year.”