All About Miami

His obsession with the University of Miami bordered on insanity. Skipping dinner so he could create the images of scoring the winning touchdown for the Hurricanes at the park became a daily occurrence. Watching old tapes of former UM greats like Ray Lewis and Michael Irvin became a hobby as soon as he learned to use a VCR.

Staying late in the weight room after he started high school was nothing out of the ordinary.

Whenever possible he would take a ride down to the Coral Gables campus and seek out advice from any the coaches or players willing to help. He gained access to Edgerrin James and Andre Johnson, among other former Hurricanes, with a simple flick of his cell phone. He wanted Miami and Miami wanted him.

Now all Bobby Washington wants is to beat the Hurricanes.

"Yeah, I used to dream about scoring the game-winning touchdown in the Orange Bowl for the Canes. That's all I wanted and nothing else," says Washington. "But things happen for a reason. I can't wait till Saturday."

That's when the North Carolina State freshman running back will get a crack at the team he dreamed of playing for as the Wolfpack (4-2, 3-1) host the BCS-ranked No. 2 Hurricanes (5-0, 2-0) at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina. But it wasn't supposed to be this way.

"That's all in the past as far as I'm concerned. I'm a member of the Wolfpack now and that's all that matters," says Washington. "I'm looking forward to a great career here and that's all I'm worried about right now."

That may be, but it was just three months ago that Washington was on his way to wearing the orange and green and in the process fulfill a dream. But before the highly-recruited 6-1, 200-pounder could join the freshmen class for the start of practice, school officials questioned Washington's ACT test score.

Rather than sit out until UM finished its inquiry into the legitimacy of the test score, Washington was granted his release and was admitted into N. C. State less than a week after leaving UM. At the time of his release, UM coach Larry Coker would only say he was disappointed to see Washington go and wished him well in the future.

Coker's stance hasn't changed.

"Bobby is a kid with a lot of talent and I'm sure he's going to be fine," said Coker.

Despite limited playing time and an average of 2.9 yards per carry through six games with the Wolfpack, Washington, who rushed for 5,695 yards and 61 touchdowns during his high school career, has the ability to make things happen whenever he carries the ball.

Washington, who has been compared to former NFL great Eric Dickerson because of his breakaway speed and upright running style, rushed for over 1,000 yards in three of his four seasons in high school. As a senior last season, Washington rushed for 2,132 yards and 21 touchdowns.

N. C. State strong safety Andre Maddox, who played with Washington at Killian, realizes what Saturday's games against Miami means to Washington. Although Washington hasn't mentioned UM since arriving at N. C. State, Maddox knows the importance of facing the Hurricanes.

"He doesn't say much. Bobby is real business-like about everything and that hasn't changed this week," says Maddox. "He's just glad to be playing football and soaking in everything that comes with a college atmosphere."

But beating the Hurricanes is right at the top of the list for Washington.

"It would mean a whole lot for this program and send us in the right direction," Washington said.

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