LaTravis Washington liking red

Playing quarterback is good. It's a chance to lead an offense and be the guy for an entire season. LaTravis Washington loves it, because he gets to live out his dream under center. But that might not be where his future lies and in fact, Washington thinks it probably doesn't. That could be why he might have a favorite right now and he could decide before the off-season is even done.

With cousin Fabian Washington a starter in the NFL, Bayshore high school standout LaTravis Washington sees his possible future. He sees the players, their size and what they do, and he gets an idea of just what he has to do if he's going to join his cousin in the league.

The overall factor, though, according to his cousin, comes down to one major factor:


"He says that you can't believe the speed, because everyone is fast," LaTravis said of his conversations with Fabian. "Everyone is fast from the running backs to the receivers, but he says that's the same with college too. If you are going to compete, you have to be ready for the change in the speed of the game."

For years perhaps, LaTravis has looked at that change from the perspective of a quarterback. How fast would he have to be to avoid the rush, get out of jams and make an impact with his feet?

Lately, though, maybe the last year, he's seen himself playing at the ultimate level from a decidedly different angle.

The defensive side of the ball

At 6 foot, 3 inches, 200 pounds, with legit 4.5 speed, Washington has a vision of where he sees himself playing in the future. "Strong safety, that's where I think I will play at," Washington said. "The coaches all tell me I have the body for it and I know I have the speed. I mean, seriously, that's what I think I end up playing."

It's one thing to think that, but when you have been voicing that you have been waiting to be a quarterback for so long, recruiters aren't sure just what kind of message they need to send. That's ok to Washington, because if there is one thing he doesn't want, it's a coach telling him what he wants to hear. He would rather hear the truth.

"I do worry about coaches telling me what I want to hear and then just moving me once I get there," Washington said. "Like Ohio State, Auburn and Michigan State – they are recruiting me as a QB. I probably wouldn't like it if I was recruited to play that position and right after I got there, they would move me to safety."

"I'd rather go someplace to play that position, if that's the position they always wanted me to play."

Only two schools have offered Washington as a safety. One is Nebraska, the team his cousin played on and the other is the University of Florida. Washington likes that, because those are two schools he knows are recruiting him for what they want and not saying something they think he wants to hear.

In the course of the recruiting process, Washington has come to appreciate how much it means when you know the coaches are telling you like it is. "Like Nebraska, they have been real straightforward with me the whole time," LaTravis said. "They said if I wanted, I would have an opportunity to play QB, but that's not where they were recruiting me to be."

"Hey, if I can play QB, that's great and I'd love to do it, but if I get moved, that's no big deal either, because going into there, I would know that's going to be a real possibility."

With that being said, despite the fact that Washington sees defense as his future, he's enjoying his time being the man, who gets the ball every snap. It's his chance to live out his dream for yet another year.

And Washington will even be attending the Quarterback Academy at Nebraska for the second year in a row and much of what he practices now has much more to do with offense than the other side of the ball.

Now don't think that eliminates schools like Ohio State, because with a quarterback like Troy Smith, the Buckeyes can clearly say that Washington fits what they want. And don't think that Nebraska is a lock, just because his cousin played there. But even Washington will admit that his familiarity with the Cornhuskers doesn't hurt their chances.

It's something that started with his cousin, but continued after his first trip to Lincoln and remains as strong to this day. "I'm liking red, I know that," LaTravis said of the Huskers. "I know my official visit there is going to be for the Texas game and I will be there in my Nebraska gear."

It would be hard to convince a fan of another school that Nebraska doesn't have a clear advantage in the recruiting of this Florida prep. And Washington will admit that he views the Huskers with a lot of affection. So much so, that while he feels it's important to take the visits and see what everyone else has to offer, he also knows how he feels.

"In my mind I know," Washington said of where he wants to be. "But it's something that you don't want to just do without checking everyone else out and seeing if they can compete."

"Part of me doesn't want to even wait and I want this decision done before the summer is over. But part of me says that I need to look around. You know, just to make sure."

His cousin would applaud the cautionary approach, despite the fact that he certainly wouldn't mind seeing another Washington wear the Scarlet and Cream. And that's what leads to LaTravis' biggest dilemma.

It's a good one, though, and with six offers right now from Nebraska, Ohio State, Florida, Southern Florida, Michigan State and Auburn, he's in a good position right now. But contrary to what he thought possibly not even a year ago, it might come down to position in being a factor for where he ultimately decides. It's just not the same one.

"If I am going to make it into the NFL, I don't really want to go from being a quarterback and then to being a safety," he said. "I want to learn all the stuff I need to learn for the position, like in what to watch and just learning all the tricks."

"Safety is where I think I'll be, so that's probably what I'll play. I don't know for sure, but right now I'd say that's true."

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