Recruitment For Washington Heating Up

The recruitment of Northridge High School safety Chris Washington has heated up over the past couple of weeks since his MVP performance at a recent camp that hosted three players committed to USC.

Coming in at about 6 feet 2 inches and 195 pounds, Chris Washington is a hard-hitting safety with scholarship offers from BYU, Utah and Utah State. Washington put his talents on display during the B2G Elite Camp at Cal Lutheran University in California. Also attending the camp were USC commits in Byron Moore (four stars, 11th ranked safety), Chris Metcalf (three stars, 28th ranked safety) and T.J. McDonald (four stars, 4th ranked safety.

Washington competed against all three USC safety prospects and came away as the camp's top performer, as he was named the camp's MVP.

The last time Total Blue Sports spoke with Washington, he mentioned that he would be choosing a school within a month or so. However, Washington's decision may be postponed, depending on what else comes his way.

"It would really all depend on the school that offered," said Washington. "If I received an offer from a big Pac-10 school, then it might make me wait a little longer on making a decision so I could weigh things out, but I know that BYU and Utah are just as good as most of the Pac-10 schools. It would really have to be a big Pac-10 school to get me to hold off though."

As of late, Washington has been working out in the weight room preparing for team workouts, which will begin next week.

"Really I've just been working out because there isn't a whole lot we can do yet because everyone is resting," said Washington. "So right now I've just been working out doing weight room stuff. Next week we'll be doing some conditioning and doing the running stuff too."

Washington said his Northridge High School football team could have a chance to make a run for a state championship this year.

"I definitely think this is one of the better football teams we've had in years," said Washington. "If we are going to make a run for the state championship, this is definitely a good team to do it with. I think we can expect some good things this year."

Washington is a close friend of Cougar commit and fellow teammate Peni Maka'afi. As one who often faces Maka'afi on the practice field, Washington said he feels the Cougar program is receiving a tough, hard-nose runner that takes more than just one person to stop him.

"I can honestly say he is basically impossible to tackle," Washington said regarding Maka'afi. "You can hit him low, you can hit him high and you get three people to hit him at the same time and he won't go down. He's also pretty quick for his size too and has really good hands, so he's someone who is the total package coming out of the backfield.

"I can keep up with him running, but when I hit him I just hope I can hold him up long enough for someone else to take him down because I don't think I'm going to be able to take him down on the first shot. I think BYU offered him a scholarship because he is the full package. He can run, he can catch [and] he's also strong and tough to bring down. I know he really wanted to be at BYU and I think the coaching staff felt he could be a big asset to their team."

Although he is a close friend of Maka'afi's, Washington said that most of the pressure to follow in his footsteps has come from Maka'afi's parents, rather than his good friend.

"I'll go over to his house and every room I go into I'll hear his dad, his brother or his mom whispering, ‘Go to BYU Chris, go to BYU Chris.' Peni doesn't push me as much as his parents try to. It's really funny though," said Washington.

On the football field, Washington said he'll bring leadership to the defensive backfield of the college team he chooses.

"I feel I'm a great athlete, but I think some of my intangible qualities are my abilities to lead the defense well," Washington said. "I've been doing that all throughout high school. I feel that I'm a good leader and like to know what I'm doing. I like to know what everybody else is doing on the field and make sure that I can communicate well from the safety position."

Meanwhile, BYU and Utah have both stepped up the recruiting for Washington's services lately.

"They both have been coming at me really hard now that I'm done with all these camps," said Washington. "I'm getting a letter from them both or usually one of them every day. Right now it's really coming down to a decision time for me."

Washington explained why BYU and Utah are his current top two choices.

"With Utah, I really like their defense," said Washington. "I like how their defense works and how aggressive it is. Growing up I was a Utah fan, and that was the way to go in my house.

"When I went down to BYU, I really liked their whole program. I liked the way they run their defense and their offense. I liked everything about the program, the athletes they have and the coaches in their program. They're really just a solid all-around team and program. When you go down there, you really cannot help but like it."

Growing up a Utah fan, Washington never thought he would ever consider attending BYU. However, after taking a closer look at the Cougar program and what the university has to offer, his disposition has changed drastically.

"For me, I like both Utah and BYU's defenses and the quality of education you can get at both places," said Washington. "For me, what it's going to come down to how I'm going to enjoy the next four to five years there. It's going to come down to which one I'm going to enjoy the most and where I'm going to like being at the most really. Like I said, when you go down there you really can't but like it down there. I remember saying to some of my friends that I would never go to BYU, but you go down there and all of a sudden you fall in love with the place. You're like, ‘What the heck, how does that happen? I hated BYU a month ago and now I love it.' It's a place where the players are cool and the coaches are cool and you cannot help but like it there."

Washington, who is not LDS, cites the quality of coaches, environment and type of character athletes found at BYU as the reasons why he has taken the Cougar program seriously.

"BYU is a great place and I don't want to go to a place where I'm going to be thinking, ‘Man, I don't even like it here,'" said Washington. "I want to go to a place where I know I'll enjoy being there and will fit in well with the team, the society and the whole lifestyle of the school.

"I know at BYU, there is a lot of emphasis placed on developing the person. It's a place that really helps shape who you are as a person for the future."

Coach Mendenhall has made developing the character of young men a top priority within his football program, and becoming more than just a great football player is something of interest to Washington.

"Yeah, you never want to turn down an opportunity to go to a place for four or five years where you know you can come out better than when you came in," he said. "I know that a lot of the players at BYU may only be 20 years old, but they act like grown adults. You can tell that you really mature quickly when you go to BYU."

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