Walking up to the podium to announce his decision, Washington joked that it wasn't a big surprise right before he slipped on an Ohio State hat. What was a surprise, however, was the coach he said he believes he'll play for.
"I believe (I'll be playing for) Urban Meyer," Washington said. "I hope so."
Throughout the recruiting process Washington expected to play for current head coach Luke Fickell, but the 6-6, 240-pound said Fickell and his staff openly communicated to him the uncertainty of the future.
Washington didn't care. It was the tradition of Ohio State, the defensive end said, that officially sealed the deal for him to become a Buckeye. He'll sign his national letter of intent in early February.
"I was anticipating that Coach Fickell was going to be there, but if Urban Meyer takes the job that's a win-win situation for me," he said. "The honesty of the coaches there actually played a big part in my decision. If Ohio State is that special that you would still sell me the school even though you probably won't be here, that tells me a lot about Ohio State."
Ranked as the No. 1 overall prospect in the state of Ohio and the third-best defensive end prospect in the nation, Washington recorded 23½ sacks in his final season, leading Taft to only its second playoff appearance in school history.
For an Ohio State recruiting class starving to make up for a slow year with the current off-the-field situation, Washington made a big splash for the Buckeyes 2012 class.
"They stressed (how important I was in this class) to me," Washington said. "But I don't want to go in with a big head like I made this class what it is. I understand what my commitment means to them, but I just go in thinking that I am ready to work."
During the recruitment process Washington indicated that other coaches along the way tried to negatively recruit against Ohio State given the program's current situation with the NCAA. Some of those coaches, Washington said, came off as insincere.
"I kind of learned that some of these coaches are used car salesmen," Washington said. "You have to know who to trust. I don't kind of have it in me, but my mom and dad do and they told me after every coach that we talked to like, ‘he's a good one' or ‘he's a used car salesman.' I trust my parents a lot and I kind of went off of what they said."
Though Washington has no relationship with Meyer, he's confident that he'd get along with the coach if he indeed accepts the job at Ohio State. The likelihood of that happening is something Washington feels confident in.
"Urban Meyer's best friend came to (a scrimmage) because he heard we were scrimmaging and he came and talked to my dad," Washington said. "My dad told me that he said that Urban Meyer is really looking to take the job (at Ohio State). So that was a good thing for me.
"Ohio State always has a big-named coach," he continued. "To get Urban Meyer, who has been winning at other universities, it makes me think he can come in and get Ohio State back going like there were."
Had Washington's announcement happened on Nov. 9 like originally planned, both prospects announcing their college decisions Tuesday morning would have chosen the Buckeyes.
Instead, Washington's teammate and best friend Dwayne Stanford – a three-star wide receiver prospect – selected Oregon as his college decision. Stanford took an official visit to Eugene over the weekend.
"It was always supposed to be a package deal," Stanford said. "But after I got back from the trip I had a lot of thinking to do. I tried not to let the trip overwhelm me because it just happened, but I wrote out a list and talked to my mom and it just was the best place for me."
Stanford indicated that the original announcement scheduled was supposed to be a dual-commitment for both he and Washington to Ohio State. However, something made him feel like he had to go out to Oregon.
The decision paid off.
"Even last night I felt like Ohio State was leading," Stanford admitted. "But after talking with my mom and really thinking about it, Oregon is just the best place for me."
Ohio State now has 15 commitments for the 2012 recruiting class and Washington and running back Bri'onte Dunn of Canton GlenOak are the only two rated as five-star prospects.