Washington building bridges with Big Orange

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When asked about how many scholarship offers he has, Robert Washington spits out a rough estimate.

"I think I have 30. I haven't counted."

Welcome to the world of the nation's No. 10 running back in the 2016 signing class.

Place Tennessee in that still-growing list of over two dozen suitors for the playmaker at SouthLake Christian Academy in Huntersville, N.C.

Washington is giving the Orange & White every opportunity to show him that a career in Knoxville is his best option, making his second unofficial visit this spring on Thursday.

"It was just more of a good time, just sitting down with the coaches," Washington told InsideTennessee. "It was a fun time with them, talking with them. I'm getting a feel for those guys as being people, not just coaches and just how comfortable I can be being around them as a staff. It was a fun visit to me."

The message passed from Tennessee coaches to the Scout four-star prospect roots at his reaching his potential carrying the football if he signs a National Letter of Intent to be a Vol.

"How they use their running backs first and foremost," Washington said in description of his interest in the Big Orange. "They support the versatility of their running backs because the NFL scouts project more with running backs who can pass block. So, they do that very well. They have a great coach that leads them in Butch Jones. Coach Jones does a great job with recruiting, and he makes every recruit feel special. They just make you feel comfortable, and it's a great family atmosphere around there."

The No. 87 player in the Scout 300 for the 2016 signing class says Vols running backs coach Robert Gillespie and tight ends coach Mark Elder are his lead recruiters to Tennessee. However, Jones' contributions as the head man provides Washington with comfort knowing he's a prime target.

"They all do a great job, even head coach Butch Jones, he does a great job of recruiting me," Washington said. "I have a great relationship with all of them. They say I'm the No. 1 running back on their board. It's just a good time spending time with them."

The relationship between Gillespie and Washington is key as they would work together closely on a daily basis on Rocky Top.

"He's a great guy, and he's a great coach," the runner said of the second-year Tennessee assistant. "I have a really great relationship with him. It's just going to get better and better as time rolls on. He's a guy I can see myself being coached by."

In Washington's freshman and sophomore seasons combined, he's carried the football 308 times for 3,520 yards and 39 touchdowns.

Washington was in Knoxville fresh off a trip to check out Clemson on Monday. Plans are to visit North Carolina on this upcoming Tuesday.

Look for the four-star to release a top 15 soon. The interest shown in Washington thus far and his paying his own way to get to campus twice already figure to have the Vols on that list of favorites.

After his senior season in Fall 2015 is complete, he plans to enroll at the university of his choice in January 2016.


Discuss the Scout 300 member's recruitment with InsideTennessee analysts and subscribers by clicking here.


Danny Parker is currently the Managing Editor, Recruiting Analyst and Staff Photographer for InsideTennessee.com. He was previously the sports editor at Shelbyville Times-Gazette. He joined the Scout team July 2011.
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