Miami transfer Jerome Washington had no intentions of quitting football when he announced his departure from the program. In fact, his commitment to Rutgers is a dream come true for a kid that grew up in nearby Elizabeth, N.J.
Washington said comments about stepping away from the game were based on miscommunication. He is 100 percent focused on the final three years of his college career.
“I never thought about [leaving football],” Washington said. “It was more of a thing where I didn't know how the transfer process went. At first, I wanted to seek out a transfer but I didn't know the rules about how you had to ask for a release. … I definitely wanted to keep playing.”
Washington signed Big Ten financial aid papers Tuesday afternoon, and enrolls at Rutgers in three weeks. He plans to visit campus often before his official enrollment and finalize an academic schedule soon.
“It felt good signing that and knowing that I have a place to go and that it will be close to home,” Washington said. “I get to have all of my family come to watch me at maximum a 30-minute drive. I'm happy to finally be back home.”
Like most aspiring players that went through Elizabeth, Washington looks up to former Rutgers star linebacker Khaseem Greene.
“I know a lot of his family members so I always had a Rutgers idea in the back of my head,” Washing said. “I really wanted to play there even before I started to play football and get serious about it as a kid.. It being a reality is just amazing.”
Washington caught one pass for 13 yards as a Miami red-shirt freshman. After he sits out 2016 via NCAA transfer regulations, Washington has two years of eligibility.
The 6-foot-5, 255-pound tight end spent a prep season in 2014 with Gattica Football while he took classes at Trenton (N.J.) Mercer Community College. He attended Stony Brook (N.Y.) High School.
“Seeing the coaching change really made me think we could turn this program around for the better,” Washington said. “It's a great academic institution so I'm happy. I think I fit really well into their offense because I pride myself on being able to stretch the field. I see myself as a mismatch against anyone whether it be a corner or a safety or a linebacker.”