February 1, 2012

Washington changing positions for SU

Three-star recruit James Washington from Winter Park, Florida has played defensive end for his entire career. But already the defensive coaches at Syracuse have told him he will have to do much more once he joins the Orange.

"I didn't really have time to get to play linebacker as much, and I'm going to have to work more on standing up and learning how to play standing up, but I'm sure I will learn that quickly," Washington said. Whatever they need me to do, I'll do it."

Particularly he noted that the coaches have told him that while he will primarily play defensive end, he's also going to be moved around "like a hybrid."

Washington, who will formally sign his letter Wednesday morning, is making sure to work on these extra skills now before he heads off to college.

"I've been doing one-on-ones, doing seven-on-sevens to work on my coverage, but also I've been working on my pass rush a lot more to make sure I can rise to the occasion when they call my number," he said. "Plus I've been staying in the weight room twice a day for six days … since the week after the season ended for us."

Washington in fact has stuck with this same weight room routine since he was a sophomore. But while he is working hard to improve some parts of his game, he feels he is already pretty strong in a few areas.

"My biggest strength as a player is pass rushing and having a good motor and being able to tackle," Washington said. " … Just faking up and going straight for the quarterback."

Washington was recruited by several schools, including Syracuse's rivals West Virginia and Cincinnati. But as soon as he visited the home of the Orange he knew that that was where he wanted to play.

"I've already established a great relationship with the coaches," Washington said of Syracuse. "As soon as I came on my visit, as soon as I landed I felt like I was at home. I felt like I didn't even go anywhere. I felt like I need to get away and to start a new life there at the university, and I just felt like they really helped me."

And the strong reputation of Syracuse football helped sway his decision as well.

"It's one of the storied programs in the nation, so it's really exciting to get the opportunity to play there," Washington said.

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