UNC Offers In-State Athlete

Damien Washington's persistence paid off in the form of his first scholarship offer late last week.

"Since camping [at North Carolina], I've been calling the coaches and emailing with them," Washington said. "When Coach [Butch] Davis was the coach, Coach [Everett] Withers was trying to get them to offer me. He was like ‘We need to get [Mike] Newsome's kid, we need to get Newsome's kid.' He even told my coach that he wanted to get me in. When [Withers] got the interim head coach job, that's when they decided to offer."

The offer was extended during a phone conversation Washington, a 6-foot, 166-pound athlete from Kannapolis (N.C.) Brown, had with Troy Douglas, who recruits Washington's area for UNC, last Friday.

"He was explaining how I have good grades and I'm a good athlete – even though they don't know what position I'll be playing – so they're going to offer," Washington said. "He said ‘We'll be sending you the actual scholarship offer in the mail.' And he said since they don't have an actual head coach, they would honor my scholarship when they get a new head coach."

Coming from UNC and being his first, the offer means a lot to Washington. "After I got back from Carolina's camp, that was all I was thinking about," Washington said. "When I went to other camps, I was thinking ‘This isn't anything like Carolina.' I don't know what it was."

Washington also camped at NC State and Richmond this past summer.

At this stage of his recruitment, Washington says UNC is his leader.

"They are the only ones to give me an offer and it's a great place," Washington said. "But I have other schools I'm interested in. Really, I want to go somewhere where I can get a good education and play and be a part of a good tradition, and Carolina offers that."

Washington lists Clemson and NC State among the other schools he's interested in.

Also working in UNC's favor is that Washington's former teammate, Travis Riley, is currently enrolled at the school.

"I've talked to [Riley] a little bit," Washington said. "I messaged him on Facebook and I was asking him what made him commit and go to Carolina. He said it felt like a good place, it's a big nice campus, and he liked the people that were up there and the players, and it was a good academic school."

Washington is unsure when he'll make a verbal commitment.

"I want to make a decision before the season gets too far along," Washington said. "But I want to wait a little bit, because I want to see if I'm going to get more offers before I jump out and commit to Carolina."

The main question with Washington is where to play him on the collegiate level.

"Coach Douglas said, ‘We know you can play offense and we know you can play defense; We'll find somewhere you can play,'" Washington said. "It'll probably be receiver or safety."

During the second day of UNC's first two-day camp, Washington worked out at defensive back. The coaching staff asked him to return to another one of its camps the following week to work out at wide receiver. Thus, he also attended the first day of UNC's final two-day camp and even spent extra time afterward running routes for John Shoop, UNC's offensive coordinator.

Last season for Brown, Washington primarily played running back and was a reserve quarterback and defensive back. On the season, he accumulated 642 yards on 66 carries (9.72-yard average) and three catches for 20 yards.

With Newsome taking over as head coach for Brown after eight years at Butler – including the final two that ended in undefeated seasons -- Washington will be used more as a utility player playing both receiver and running back.

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