Those Razorback football who followed the recruitment of Arkansas junior college cornerback signee Carroll Washington (6-0, 180) of Salinas (CA) Hartnell College no doubt remember the dreadlocks prominent in some of his pictures.
But those who show up for the Razorbacks' Red-White game on April 20th won't be able to find them.
"It was a thing of turning 21 and I just thought I need to do something different and it was time for me to have a new look," said Washington, who notes he had dreads since he was 14. "I woke up one morning and just said So I did away with them. New team, new day, new hairstyle."
Arkansas returns a pair of starters at cornerback in junior-to-be Tevin Mitchel and Will Hines - who was forced into action as a freshman due to injuries and the incosistency of others - but is expecting Washington to contribute immediately.
"It is a big learning experience for me coming from JC to a program in the numer one conference in the country," Washington said. "It has been a big change. It is a lot faster, there are a lot bigger guys out here. I am just trying to stay in the playbook, stay in the film room and if I do that, I should be good."
Washington, a former junior college teammate of current Arkansas teammate Kiero Small, had three interceptions and over 30 tackles as a sophomore last season.
He hopes to bring that play-making ability to the field this fall for the Razorbacks.
"I am just trying learn everything I can this spring during these 15 practices because I want to make an impact right away," Washington said. "The coaches have stressed to me that they want four or five guys who are interchangeable and for there to be no drop off when one guy has to come out to rest or a change in scheme. They want all of us ready to play and we are all working hard to get ready."
Washington was a standout quarterback in high school and led his Edmonson team to the state title as a sophomore.
But after graduation he gave up football when his grades did not allow him to get into a D-I school and instead just took classes for two years at Baltimore Community College while also overcoming a legal issue that was later dropped.
"It actually was so heartbreaking that I thought about walking away from the game of football," Washington told the Baltimore Sun. "It really took a toll on me."
It looked for a minute like he was going to end up Lakawanna (PA) CC, but a financial aid issue instead would send him to Hartnell.
He would end up flourishing at Hartnell, picking off seven passes as a freshman and eventually earning All-American honors as a sophomore.
Washington, rated as the number one junior college quarterback in the country by one national recruiting service, chose Arkansas over Mississippi State, Texas Tech and Kansas.
"It's a great thing," Dante Jones, Washington's high school head coach, told the Baltimore Sun. "It's a story you can use with Carroll to help other kids do that. If you don't take care of your books, you don't realize how hard you have to work. But if you keep pushing and keeping on it, you can make it through."
Washington said Thursday that is certain of just that.
"I put in a lot of hard work to get here and it paid off, but I know I can't rest and have to work even harder now that I am here," Washington said. "I'm not going to let up and I am just going to get better every day."
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