July 9, 2009

Washington ready to get back

The road to recovery has been a long and winding one for redshirt freshman defensive end Cornelius Washington.

Shoulder and forearm injuries kept the former Burke County star off of the practice field for most of the year.

Although it's still likely that Washington would have redshirted, his development was slowed due to the simple fact that he was unable to practice.

Now that he's just about healthy, Washington is ready to make up for lost time.

"I'm almost 100 percent," Washington smiled. "It feels great to be 100 percent. There are still a few things they (trainers) won't let me do just to be sure I don't tweak anything, but I'm almost full go. The only thing I don't do is punch-type stuff. Other than that, I'm fine."

Washington has not been limited in the weightroom, either.

Bench press, hand clean and power cleans are no problem for Washington, who has bulked up to 247 pounds.

That's not too bad when you consider he weighed a scant 217 upon his arrival on campus one year ago.

"I just weighed in," Washington said proudly. "I've got a few more to go but I'm on the right track."

The question now, is where will he fit in once the Bulldogs begin preseason drills in August?

Injuries played havoc with the position virtually the entire season, and in spring only had two scholarship players healthy enough to practice.

Georgia will still be without redshirt sophomore Justin Houston while he serves a two-game suspension, but will Roderick Battle, Demarcus Dobbs, Neland Ball and Kiante Tripp at or near 100 percent once practice begins. Position coach Jon Fabris will also be taking a close look at true freshman Montez Robinson and will hope that the injured Jeremy Longo (shoulder) will be able to start practice sometime in August.

That leaves Washington, who admits to being ready to strap the pads on once again.

"It's kind of hard to tell how my speed or anything like that is going to be affected until I put on the pads," he said. "It's hard to gauge all that until you do. I feel fine, but I really can't test myself until then."

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