BYU offers junior college cornerback

Last night, BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall offered a full-ride scholarship to a Hartnell Junior College (California) cornerback with two SEC offers currently on the table. The plan now is for him to possibly visit BYU for the Cougars' season opener against Washington State.

Originally from Edmondson-Westside High School in Baltimore, the 5-foot-11-inch, 177-pound Carroll Washington can add the Cougars of BYU to his list of offers, which also includes Mississippi State and Arkansas.

"[Thursday] I spoke with Coach Mendenhall, who is the head coach, and he actually offered me last night around 8:00," said Washington. "The defensive back coach, Coach Howell, came out prior to that to my practice and said that I'm a good athlete and can play the position well. I was really happy about that."

Washington has yet to visit BYU's campus, something that is typically a crucial part of BYU's evaluation process.

"Coach Mendenhall told me that I was the second guy he ever offered before he's seen them," Washington said. "That really means a lot to me. For a head coach to call me and offer means a lot, but then for a head coach to call me and offer me as the second person only to be offered even before I came to the school is really special.

"He even said he feels right about offering me a scholarship even before I come to the school. That indicates to me that he kind of backed off that grey area a little bit and really wants me. To get a call from the head coach is really big and he sounds like a great guy. I'll admit I was kind of nervous because I didn't want to mess up. The whole experience of getting a scholarship from him without first getting to know him is really an honor.

"He even talked about me about coming out for their first game, which would be against Washington State. He would like me to come out to check out the school, see the game and see how I feel about it."

Washington feels good about that idea and will try and do just that to get a better understanding of the Cougar program.

"I know BYU is a different type of school with a different atmosphere and stuff like that. I would like to go over there and see if that school is good for me.

"Coach Howell … when he was here was saying how he really wanted me and stuff like that. Before he left he asked me, ‘What do I need to do to get you to feel like BYU is the place for you?' I told him that I know the school is different, so I need to go out there and visit the campus and see how it is. BYU, from my understanding, is totally different than half – if not all – the universities in the United States. I'm really anxious to go on a visit if I'm able to go on a visit."

When recruiting players, BYU looks at more than just one's athletic ability.

"I think they saw my humbleness," Washington said. "Coach Nick Howell asked me what do I want out of life. I told him, ‘I want to go to the NFL, but I'm not going anywhere without my family.' I don't make any decisions without my family. He told me that family was a big thing for him, like it is to me. Family is everything and that just shows how cool of a guy Nick Howell really is. I know BYU is a unique place and for them to recruit me and for Coach Mendenhall to offer me is pretty special."

Academics are also a big part of the recruiting standards of BYU's football program.

"By the end of the semester I should have a 3.0," Washington said. "Business is my major now but I'm thinking about changing it later."

Faith is also important to Washington.

"I go to church every once in a while and don't get the chance to go to church that often here. When I go back home to Baltimore, I try to go to church a lot. I try and put God first in my life. How I figure things out is going to take a lot of praying and a lot of figuring things out with my family, a lot of praying.

"It hasn't been like this my whole life, but for a couple of years now I've really grown closer to God, just [because of] all the things He's put me through. With the position I'm in now, I don't have anyone to thank but God. Last year about this time I was back home and going to school, but I wasn't where I wanted to be at.

"I was actually going to go to a Division II college, and I felt like there was something telling me, ‘You're better than this. You're better than this.' I got in contact with a friend who got in contact with Coach Collins. He told me, ‘Well, contact Coach Collins and maybe he will help you out,' and that's what he did. I don't have anybody to thank but God. I feel He's the one that helped out there. I have no one to thank but Him. The position I'm in now to have these scholarship offers, I never thought I would be in. I have no one to think but Him and, like I said, I'll doing some praying and talking to my family about all this."

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