Washington Names Early Top Five

Richland Northeast (Columbia, SC) stud linebacker Chaz Washington is one of the top defensive prospects in South Carolina in the class of 2008, and the Palmetto State standout is already generating strong interest on the recruiting front. Where do the Gamecocks stand with this top in-state prospect? Read inside to find out.

The 6'3, 210 pound Washington, who runs a 4.5 second forty yard dash, had a productive junior season for RNE despite battling a nagging ankle injury throughout the year, and he feels if he had stayed healthy he would be rated higher in several of the 2008 prospect rankings.

"I finished up playing a total of eight games because of a high ankle sprain. I had 60 tackles, 4 forced fumbles, 4 recoveries, and 4 sacks," said Washington. "It was amazing to me how I came to Northeast to start right away as a transfer from Spring Valley. I think I did pretty well. If I had played in all the games, I think I would have been at #5 (in the pre-season state rankings). I would have had Bruce Taylor‘s spot."

While there would have been no shame in sitting out due to the high ankle sprain, Washington fought through the pain to do what he felt he needed to in order to help his team.

"I went through the season playing with (the high ankle sprain). I missed like two games, but other than that I got right back into it because I felt like my team needed me. My biggest game was against T.L. Hanna and Brian Maddox. I had a total of 14 tackles that game, and that's the game that I really messed up my ankle. I only missed like two series, but I was telling my trainer that I wanted to go back in. I kept telling him, ‘I've gotta go, gotta go. I've got to do what I've got to do.' I'm back to 100 percent, and I'm ready to go right now."

On the recruiting front, Washington has not received any official offers yet, but he believes it's just a matter of time until they start flooding in. Although he's still waiting on the offers, several coaches around the southeast have kept in close contact with the RNE standout.

"I haven't received an offer yet, but I've got a real good feeling that it's real close. All the coaches have been telling me that they're just waiting on my film and stuff. The coaches have been texting me like it's nothing. Today I talked to Coach Rumph up at Clemson, and he was telling me that all they're waiting on is a paper, and they're ready to offer me. I also talk to Coach Robbie Caldwell from Vanderbilt. I talk to him and all the coaches on a daily basis. I also talk to coach Matt Luke from Tennessee. I talked to Coach David Reaves from South Carolina a couple weeks ago. He came up to the school, and he was getting some information from me for the junior day."

Washington is admittedly in no hurry to make a decision, but he does claim an early list of favorites in the race for his services.

"I'm still open, but the schools that stand out are Tennessee, Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Notre Dame, and Vanderbilt. That's about it. They stand out to me right now."

The hard hitting linebacker also has an idea of what key factors he's looking for in a school.

"The academics, that's the first thing. My surroundings, the coaching staff, and wherever I can play right away or get a lot of playing time early are things that are important to me."

Washington is currently gearing up for a few junior day events where he hopes to impress the college scouts.

"The junior days I'll be going to are March 3rd at South Carolina. I'll be going to Clemson on March 10th, and on the 31st I'll be going to Tennessee."

Looking forward to his senior season, Washington, who said he models his game after Ray Lewis, has set a few goals for himself in the fall.

"My goals are to get stronger, faster, and be a leader to the team. I just want to be a leader and lead my team to the championship."

When asked to describe himself as a player on the football field, Washington replied that he is a running back's worst nightmare.

"The strengths I bring to the football field are that I fly to the ball. I don't give up. If it's a big 6'0, 220 (pound) running back coming up to the hole, I'm sure to meet him anytime, anyplace. Whether it's in the open field or on the sidelines, I'll get there. I play sideline to sideline, and I'm just a monster on the field."

Lastly, after producing top prospects like Adam Patterson, Rodney Paulk, Gary Gray, and Mark Barnes in the past couple of years, Washington warned of another big time prospect to watch at RNE over the next two seasons.

"I'm actually the only upperclassman that's getting D-I looks, but we have an underclassman that'll be a junior next year. His name is Chris Bonds. He's going to be real good. That's my boy right there. He's about 6'3 and probably about 260. He's a monster on the field. He‘s going to be a good one."

Stay tuned to GamecockAnthem.com for all the latest on this elite Palmetto State prospect.

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