It helps to be wanted

Unlike many athletes, Lorenzo Washington was fortunate enough to be recruited by some of the best football programs in the South. Comparing Mark Richt and Georgia with Mike Shula and Alabama, what's not to like? <br><br>But one factor more than anything else swayed Washington Bama's way.

"The confidence the Alabama coaches had in me from the very beginning," was the principal thing Washington listed as being key to his decision. "They always considered me one of the best players and they really wanted me."

There is certainly no question about that. For months Washington has been the Tide's primary target on the defensive line, and their attention paid off.

Diana Washington commented on her son's decision. "He did what I asked him to do. He prayed to God for guidance and asked Him to show him where to go. I am very proud of him.

"Tuscaloosa better get ready for me!"

Tide fans have high hopes that Lorenzo Washington will develop into an excellent player.

Anyone that has met Washington's mother smiled when they read that last comment. Friendly and outgoing, Diana Washington has been part and partial of the recruiting process from the beginning, dating all the way back to that hot July day when she drove him to Tuscaloosa for Alabama's one-day mini-camp. Since then she's screened thousands of phone calls, trying to keep Lorenzo sane and focused on the serious business of deciding his future college home.

According to Washington, this past season he was named to the 3A All-State Team, to the "Super 11" squad for Georgia, and to the "Super 6" team for Gwinnett County. Washington was named Player of the Week three times for his high school team and Lineman of the Week by the Atlanta Quarterback Club.

Not surprisingly, Washington has been following Bama's recruiting this year closely, and he's very proud to be a part of such an outstanding class.

He commented, "I was looking at a list of all the commitments that we had and we have so much amazing speed. A lot of the guys can play both ways. We have five receivers that can about play anywhere."

Alabama fans will love to hear that possessive pronoun "we" from Washington. He credits Tide Head Coach Mike Shula with putting together the talented class.

"He just did a great job in-state and everyone in-state will want to come to Alabama now, because we are going to be back to where we used to be," Washington said. "People didn't want to come here for the past couple of years because of probation. Now, we are eligible to go to a bowl game and go to the SEC Championship."

Washington also credits Tide assistant coach Paul Randolph.

Washington did an excellent job in front of the camera last Wednesday as he announced his commitment to Alabama on television.

"The coaching staff is wanting to help you on and off the field," Washington said. "They want us to be great football players but also great men. They are there to help us through life and make sure we get a degree."

Washington says he plans to report to Tuscaloosa in June. He's athletic enough to play other sports, but says he'll spend his time "just working out" and concentrating on football. Right now he's 6-5 and weighs 275 pounds.

How big do the coaches want you to be?

"It just depends on how I progress during the off-season," he replied. "I'm going to have to learn three technique (tackle position), so I need to be quick when I'm going down on the line. I don't think they want me to be 290."

Washington listed speed and size as his toughest adjustments to the college game.

"The game speed is going to be a lot faster," he said. "The size and strength of the other players is going to be a big difference. Guys are giants literally in college football."

Washington continued, "I'm going to be going up against guys like Wesley Britt everyday in practice. That guy was an All-American his sophomore year and Pre-season All-American his junior year. He definitely would have finished as an All-American if he had not broken his leg. It will help me get better going up against guys like him."

Linemen were a priority for Alabama this year, and Washington is a pillar of the class.

Washington hails from Loganville, Georgia, and he is perfectly proud of his home state. But he and his loved ones are members of the Crimson Tide family now.

"The Tradition at Alabama is just something that everyone should want to be a part of," Washington said. "We are going to win an SEC championship and hopefully, a national championship."

RECRUITING NOTES: Alabama is allowed to bring in 19 new scholarshipped players this fall. The Tide is expected to sign as many as 25-26 players in February, anticipating that several will not become qualified. It's also possible that one or more players may be asked to delay entry into The University until the following January, counting against 2005 scholarship numbers, depending on how qualifying issues play out.

Read all of the recent recruiting stories on Alabama recruits from

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