Washington sees one future, tries for another

It's tough playing a position you love, knowing that one day, if everything works out, you will be playing something else entirely. That's what Florida native LaTravis Washington deals with, the quarterback, who's being recruited by most schools as a safety. That's great too, as Washington will play whatever he needs to play. But he's still not totally giving up his shot under center.

I suppose if it was someone else, they'd be working on their reads on defense, watching film of tackling, how to evaluate what certain offensive players do, etc., so on and so forth.

Yeah, sure, if you are a defensive player, that's probably what you'd be doing.

LaTravis Washington, though, he's still a quarterback, and for at least one more season of football, that's what he will be.

The problem is, while some schools are indeed recruiting him to play quarterback, many more are recruiting him as a safety. So, being a recruit at that position can sometimes feel a little bittersweet.

"I have played quarterback so long, I love it, and I really enjoy playing the position," Washington said. "But I know when you look at my body, my build and my speed, my position is probably at safety."

Ok, that's one reality, but it's not the only one, at least not the one he's ready to completely settle for just yet. When Washington goes to camps or combines, he doesn't go as a safety. He goes as that guy under center.

And don't think it's wishful thinking either, because Washington knows he can play. But from what he's gathered from coaches and other critiques, he's got one big thing to fix. "I need to get my feet in the proper place to throw the ball," Washington said. "If you are going to a particular guy, you have to go off of the top of left toe. All the time I'd go off my right and that's the thing I need to work on."

Can you see where his mind is?

And that's what Washington plans on working on this summer too.

But let's be honest about the two positions; quarterback and safety: Yes, you need technique to play both, and if you aren't sound, you won't do very well, regardless of your athleticism. But when it comes to being a quarterback, there are nuances to the position, where the demand is significant.

With safety, and this is confirmed by all the coaches recruiting him as that, his size and athleticism make him viable to play, perhaps even his first year. What Washington wants to do is, no matter what position he's slated to play, if he gets a shot at QB, is make a decision to move him to the other side very difficult indeed.

Nebraska has told him that their plan is for him to play that safety spot. But from what Washington said, defensive back coach Phil Elmassian has said that he'd get his shot at QB. And it wouldn't be one of those half-hearted shots, where they give him time, just to placate him and then move him over. It would be a legit shot at seeing just how he would do.

"They told me that if it looked like I was making the kind of progress at the position, where they could see me playing by my sophomore year, I would stay at the position," Washington said. "If it didn't work out, I'd probably get moved to strong safety."

"That's all I want. I just want a shot at showing coaches that I can do this, that I'm a quarterback, but hey, if I have to move, I have to move. I'm open to anything."

When it comes to the Huskers, Washington will have another shot to prove he can play the position and that's even before his final season of prep ball begins. Scheduled to attend this year's Quarterback Academy, LaTravis will be one of the few, who have a year of experience in that camp to draw upon for this next time around.

That's good for him and based on what he did last year, along with watching others, Washington's goal isn't just to get respect as a QB, but the ultimate respect from this particular session. "I want to win," Washington said of the MVP trophy, awarded to the best QB during the three-day camp. "I want to win the whole thing."

And Washington knows exactly what it will take to do that, and it is something that was a bit of a personal hell for a current Husker (Harrison Beck), who like Washington, didn't quite take the top prize when he was there.

The nets

The stationary nets for the various drills, including three,five and seven-step drops, along with wet ball tests as well as those coming off of bootlegs. They are just standing there, waiting to he bit, but as Washington remembered not real fondly of last year, that was the problem.

"I'm not used to throwing at nets, I am used to throwing at receivers who move," Washington said. "Those nets were a problem. That's why working on my accuracy is a really big thing for me right now."

That camp is right around the corner, the Academy starting on the 14th, with the final competition on the 17th. And like all of those superstar football competitions you see between quarterbacks, it's usually highlighted by what is perhaps the most insignificant contest, when it comes to the ability of the QB, but it's the most important to the competitors.

Long ball

There's nothing like being able to chuck the ball farther than you will ever really need to, and Washington was amongst the best at last year's Academy, throwing the ball 63 yards. Unfortunately, that wasn't good enough for first place, in-state product Nathan Enderle throwing it 67.

Washington plans on changing that this year

"I'm throwing it 70," Washington said emphatically. "I'm cocking that thing back and I'm going to get it."

If Washington does what he says, winning not only in distance, but in taking the overall award, he'll have moved one step closer to being what he's tried to be the last couple of years. Yes, LaTravis said that safety works, he's accepting of the position and he'll play that if that is what's needed.

But he knows where his heart lies.

Under center, making plays with the ball, moving in and out of the pocket, throwing the ball downfield and leading his team to the victory. What kid wouldn't want that, if they had experienced that on another level? Probably anyone.

Washington does, and he's continually doing everything he possibly can, to get at least a shot at doing just that. "If I get the shot and it doesn't work out, hey, I had my chance," he said. "That's all I want. I don't want any promises that, that is where I am going to stay."

"Coaches know what they are doing and they know where I should be. I just want a shot to play QB. If I get that, I'm happy, whatever happens."

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