Washington Makes The Call

Less than a week after receiving his first offer from UNC, Damien Washington committed to the Tar Heels. The 6-foot, 166-pound athlete from Kannapolis (N.C.) Brown gave the UNC staff the word late Tuesday evening.

"I'm a UNC fan, so it's a dream come true," Washington said Wednesday morning. "It's going to be nice and exciting, because I actually get what I've always wanted when I was little.

"I got the offer after Coach [Everett] Withers got the head coaching job. That showed me that they were really interested in me and wanted me to come up there."

UNC assistant coach Troy Douglas offered Washington last Friday as an athlete.

"I just kept thinking about it," Washington said. "Coach [Mike] Newsome showed me what Coach Withers was talking to him about, how he really wanted me. So I made the call.

"I called Coach Douglas and I was talking to him. I ended up talking to Coach Withers. And I spoke with him and told him."

Washington is the first Tar Heel commitment since Withers took over as head coach.

"It means a lot (to be the first commitment for Withers)," Washington said. "The (UNC coaches) were glad and happy. They were like, 'We're glad you want to be a part of this program and are going to be a Tar Heel.'"

"We talked about football - what's going on down here and what's going on up there. They were talking about how they're moving on, having good practices, and the team is working hard."

According to Washington, the commitment is firm and he doesn't expect to take visits to anywhere other than UNC. In fact, he plans to be in Chapel Hill this Saturday.

"I feel relieved and excited," he said. "I'm really excited about how i don't have to worry about it as much. Now I can have a good senior season. And I'm excited, because I get to go up there."

Washington attended UNC's summer camp in June, and had the opportunity to work one-on-one with members of the coaching staff at both wide receiver and safety.

"They said I'm a good athlete and they'll find a place for me to play whether it's on the offensive side or defensive side – maybe even special teams," Washington said. "I want to play wherever is going to give me some playing time."

Newsome, the head coach at Brown High School, said, "I think Coach Withers and those guys believe he can go over and play corner or safety. I really believe that he could do that.

"He's athletic enough that he could play any position on the football field. He has the attitude of if you told him to go play guard, he'd go play guard. He could play safety or corner, but I think running back really, truly might be his true position, because he's so dang fast but he needs to be a little more physical between the tackles – but that's just something he hasn't done yet."

Under former head coach Ron Massey, Washington was primarily used as a running back and a reserve quarterback and defensive back.

Although Newsome won't have Washington play just one position, he plans on keeping him solely on the offensive side of the ball this coming season.

"He's a great football player," Newsome said. "We're going to try to get the ball in his hands in a multitude of ways – him at running back, him at receiver, him at H-back, him at slot back."

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

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