In the waning minutes of registration, a surprising – but well known – figure enrolled in North Carolina’s final camp of the summer: Syracuse verbal commitment Robert Washington.
Washington, a 5-foot-10, 210-pound running back from Mount Holly (N.C.) East Gaston, has made about ten recruiting trips to UNC. But none have occurred since he verbally committed to Syracuse in April.
“I had a free day and saw North Carolina had a camp,” Washington said. “So I came up there to work out and see Coach [Gunter] Brewer.”
Although he hasn’t visited UNC in some time, Washington’s communication with Brewer, who recruits the greater Charlotte area for UNC, has resumed uninterrupted.
“I’ve always kept in contact with Coach Brewer, because I didn’t only talk with Coach Brewer about recruiting or football,” Washington said. “Coach Brewer is a great man, so I might talk to him about some life issues or just personal things. It never really ceased, because our relationship was not all about recruiting. I just have a really good relationship with Coach Brewer.”
Before the camp began, Washington and Brewer spoke.
“He just said ‘it was nice having you up here, it’s nice seeing you again, it’s nice talking to you,’” Washington said. “He told me they were expecting a big crowd [at the camp] and told me to have fun.”
Washington certainly had fun, even though Friday’s appearance was his third UNC camp in as many summers.
“I felt like it went great,” Washington said. “I had fun. It was fun working with Coach [Larry] Porter, it was fun competing in one-on-ones, [and] it’s always fun talking with and working out with other recruits like Jalen Mayden and Chazz Surratt.
“And it was good talking with Elijah [Hood] – I’ve known Elijah since he was in high school and Elijah and I are friends. It’s good spending time with T.J. Logan and M.J. [Stewart]. I used to play with M.J. Stewart in Team USA when I was 14 [years old].”
When camp concluded, Washington conversed with Porter.
“He said, ‘You definitely did well in the camp [and] it was good having you up here,’” Washington said.
Although the staff is pursuing several running back targets, UNC remains in the market for a 2016 running back.
“They haven’t told me anything recently [about the running back situation],” Washington said. “They just told me I fit their scheme well. I used to run zone – it’s a great scheme, I like it, and it fits me very well.”
At least at the moment, Friday’s experience hasn’t changed Washington’s commitment status.
“Yes I am [committed], right now,” Washington said. “I’m a solid commit to Syracuse, but I’m keeping my options open right now.”
Washington has visited UNC more than any other school.
“Personally, I’m from North Carolina,” Washington said. “The Tar Heels rule the state in basketball, football, and whatever it is. North Carolina is a great place. Chapel Hill is a great city. I have cousins that go there, so North Carolina is definitely a fun place for me. I like the campus. I like the feel. When I went to games, I liked the game atmosphere. The players are cool. The coaches are great.”
Washington played his first three prep seasons at Huntersville (N.C.) SouthLake, where he won two NCISAA championships. For his final year of high school ball, though, he’ll transfer to East Gaston. However, paperwork needs to be completed before he can begin practicing with the Warriors, as they open preseason practice on Saturday.
Since he’s set to graduate from high school in December – and then enroll in college in January -- Washington will only spend the fall semester at East Gaston.
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