Mark Washington trip report

Mark Washington is a 6-3, 240-pound linebacker prospect from Long Beach (Calif.) Poly and he made a last-minute decision to visit the University of Washington this weekend. With three schools right at the top for Mark's services, this trip turned out to be an important one for him. Did he find out what he needed to, and was it what he was expecting?

"I think the highlight was just getting to meet the players and coaches," Mark told late Sunday night. "You could tell the players are very close-knit and are nice and easy to get along with. The coaches are also pretty cool. Coach Neuheisel is really a players' coach, meaning he'll come by at least twice a week while stretching or doing something just to check up on you, make sure you're doing OK.

"He took me aside this morning and asked me if Colorado was really the team I was looking hardest at because my Dad played there, and I told him that I was going to base my decision on what was best for me and that my Dad would certainly be helping me but he knows it's my choice."

Washington also got to know Matt Malele and Mark Bradford a little better on his official visit. "I really can't say what they are doing recruiting-wise because we didn't talk about it," he said. "We were just there having fun. And it looked like they were having a lot of fun."

Washington and Malele had an interesting time checking out the Space Needle. "That was cool," Mark said. "It was great to see the whole city from up there. I was sitting next to Matt Malele. It took us a minute or two to figure out it was turning. That was wild!"

Playing time has been something Mark has talked about from Day One. And after attending Washington's practices in preparation for the Sun Bowl, he saw the depth chart at linebacker up close and personal. "I got to see two practices," he said. "I think it would be a good fit for me up there because they lose two good linebackers. Coach Jackson wants me as a MIKE 'backer because they need a guy who can bang it up in the middle and stuff the run. They also need someone who is smart enough to read offenses and make the calls on the field."

Cory Jones was Mark's host. "He's only been there three months, but it was great listening to him because he's living it, you know what I mean. He knows how it is there."

Academically, the University also seems to be a good fit for Mark. "I want to go into either Sports Medicine or business management," he said. "It looks like they have good programs set up for the players to help them with their classes, like tutors for every class."

With other visits on the horizon, Mark wasn't ready to pull the trigger, especially on a first visit. "I didn't commit," he said. "I need to make some comparisons. It's easy to make a commitment on the first visit you take just because of the way they treat you." Not even the weather detracted from a beneficial and fun visit for Washington. "The weather wasn't the biggest factor or anything. It was a good trip."

Mark's other two trips are to Colorado (12/20) and Ohio State (1/10), and he'll visit both before making a decision.

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