The four-year starter for the West Bank-based Patriots maintained a constant energy level throughout the sweltering two-hour scrimmage held just down Jefferson Highway from the John Curtis campus. Ehret coach Billy North will depend on Washington to maintain that fervor through the length of the season, as he will be one of only a handful of senior players on the Patriots' roster in 2001.
"We expect a lot out of Thaddeus this year," North said. "He is going to have to help us early while we bring some younger guys along."
That means Washington will pull more than just defensive duty in his senior season. After lining up as the lead blocker in short yardage situations last year, he will get the ball in his hands with the goal of plowing through the defense.
The going was tough for Washington on his carries in the scrimmage against John Curtis, which features a stingy defensive front. The main cog in the JC line is junior defensive tackle Carnell Stewart, a hulking junior who will be a hot name in recruiting circles next year.
"We've got some improvements to make," Washington admitted afterwards. "We can be good if we keep working."
Ehret has been a dominant team in District 7-5A in recent years, but the playing field is a bit more level in 2001. North says teams like Higgins, West Jefferson and Bonnabel could all be playoff bound, and it should make for interesting league competition.
Washington is putting his recruiting decision on the back burner, and that could be good for schools like LSU who have chosen not to step up their pursuit. So far, Thaddeus has visits set to Colorado, Southern California and Tennessee.
While LSU has not been among the strong suitors to this point, North says he is happy to see one of his former players, Theo Williams, make the step up from player to graduate assistant at LSU. Williams is just beginning his first season working under strength and conditioning coordinator Tommy Moffitt."We're really proud of guys like Theo and Johnny Mitchell who have gone on to represent Ehret at LSU," said North. "It's good that Theo is still there and representing Ehret so well. Hey're good examples for all of our young guys."