2014 Intro: Lanett Athlete Jalen Washington

Lanett's Jalen Washington is a player to watch for the 2014 recruiting season after a strong junior year for the Panthers.

Lanett, Ala.—Once a powerhouse football program, Lanett hasn't had much to cheer about recently on the gridiron. However, this season there is reason for optimism surrounding Coach Cliff Story's Panther program following a playoff berth and an eight-win season in 2012.

Expected to be one of the key players for Lanett in 2013, talented two-way threat Jalen Washington is a prospect to watch for the 2014 signing class. A 6-1, 200-pounder with good speed and athleticism, Washington earned First-Team All-State honors as a junior, but his best position may be at safety because of his physical nature and nose for the ball.

"Jalen is a super athlete," Story tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "He's one of the most athletic guys I have ever coached in my 15-year career. He's a leader. The kids follow him.

"He's been a leader since I met him in middle school when he started at quarterback for me as an eighth-grader," the coach adds. "He's a very hard worker in the weight room. What you see on the field is what he brings every single day. He never takes a day off. He never tries to get out of work. He's just an all-around athlete."

Jalen Washington is shown during a spring practice.

It's that combination that has collleges showing an interest in Washington as the Panthers go through spring drills. With a few early offers and bigger schools starting to come around, Washington says it's a fun time and he's just enjoying things at the moment.

"It's exciting right now," Washington says. "I'm trying to make my senior year the best it can be and carry my team to a championship. Now that I'm starting to hear from schools it's really fun, but it's kind of scary, too.

"I have offers from Furman, Jacksonville State and Western Kentucky at the moment," he points out. "I'm also hearing from Ole Miss, Florida State and a lot of other SEC schools like Alabama and Auburn."

Having already visited Florida State, Washington says he plans to camp with the Seminoles this summer and also hopes to camp at Auburn, Alabama, Western Kentucky and possibly Jacksonville State as well. Hoping to improve his speed and also his coverage skills, Washington says he wants to show schools what he can bring to the table as a safety.

"I'm an athlete, but I like defense better," Washington says. "I'm willing to play anywhere they want to put me. Right now I'm just trying to focus on school right now to make sure I have my grades taken care of. I want to reach the highest peak I can."

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