Notre Dame offer leaves RB recruit Washington breathless

South Bend Tribune

Robert Washington’s familiarity with Notre Dame didn’t lessen the impact of the news.

When running backs coach Tony Alford extended an offer last week, the sophomore prospect was a bit overwhelmed.

“It took my breath away a little bit, I'm not going to lie,” Washington said. “It was a really big offer. It meant a lot coming from coach Alford, a guy who I have such a good relationship with. It was kind of a shock.”

The Irish officially entered the race for the 5-foot-10, 205-pound phenom from Huntersville, N.C., with an offer, but Alford has been keeping a close eye on Washington for a while. Washington visited Notre Dame for the third time on April 4. An offer from Alford and a visit to SouthLake Christian Academy came before the end of the month.

“Coach Alford and I have been talking for two years now,” Washington said. “We have an excellent relationship. We don't even talk about football sometimes. We might talk about other things.”

Washington’s prowess on the football field provides plenty of fodder for conversation. As a sophomore, Washington rushed 219 times for 2,512 yards and 28 touchdowns. According to MaxPreps, no sophomore accumulated more rushing yards last season.

He has already impressed enough to claim 28 offers, including ones from North Carolina, Ohio State and Stanford. He’s developed a combination of power and speed (4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash) with two seasons left as a high school running back.

“My thing is power, speed and vision,” Washington said. “I pride myself on being a balanced back. I don't want to be labeled as a speed back or a power back. I want to have power and speed where I can run you over.”

The attention from colleges has accelerated his recruiting process but hasn’t blinded him from the improvements left to make in his game.

“Three big things: get bigger, stronger and faster,” Washington said. “I can get smarter as the game goes on. I'm learning more about the game to become a complete back. That's what I want to be.”

He prides himself on becoming a student of the game. He’ll watch NFL running backs and try to emulate the best of what they have to offer.

"I like to take pieces of each running back,” Washington said. “I like to take the power and the aggressiveness of Adrian Peterson, the finesse of Jamaal Charles or the physicality of Trent Richardson and the power that he brings to the table, and Marshawn Lynch because he's just a beast.”

He attended Notre Dame’s game against BYU game last fall, which allowed him a chance to imagine himself in the Irish backfield. He also soaked up the game day experience on campus.

“It was a freezing cold game,” Washington said. “I was there and it was a great experience seeing the marshmallow fight they do (in the student section). It was good to experience the atmosphere of college football that Notre Dame brings to the table.”

Washington has an array of campus visits to compare with Notre Dame. He lists Ohio State, Tennessee, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Georgia, Florida State, Michigan, Boston College, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Arizona State and Arkansas as schools he’s already visited. The experiences have allowed him to weigh the important factors for an eventual commitment.

"I have three things I'm looking for in a school: I'm looking for education, big-time football and the social life,” Washington said.

For now, Washington plans to slow down his recruitment after a whirlwind past year. He said he doesn’t plan to visit any schools this summer while he regroups. He still has plenty of time to decide before following through with plans to enroll early in 2016.

“Right now, I'm just getting ready for the season,” Washington said. “I'm going to cut my list down for my junior season and I'm going to make my commitment after signing day next year. This summer I'll be praying and talking with my family about where I’m going to go to school at.”

More offers reported

Notre Dame continues to extend offers with coaches on the road for the spring evaluation period. This week the Irish offered a top-ranked running back and a pair of teammates in Texas.

RB Johnny Frasier, 5-10, 206; Princeton (N.C.) High: A 2015 prospect, Frasier reported an offer from the Irish on Tuesday. 247Sports slates Frasier as a four-star recruit, the No. 1 running back, and No. 37 overall. Rivals ranks him as a three-star prospect and the No. 33 running back. He also holds offers from Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State, among others.

Frasier was credited with a 4.45 in the 40-yard dash at a recent Shrine Bowl combine. He rushed for 3,042 yards and 45 touchdowns as a junior. Watch his highlights here.

WR Devin Duvernay, 5-10, 180; Sachse (Texas) High: A 2016 prospect, Duvernay reported an offer Monday. 247Sports slates him as a four-star recruit, the No. 3 wide receiver and No. 39 overall in the class. He already holds double-digit offers, including Clemson, Oklahoma and Texas. Watch his highlights here.

CB Jared Mayden, 6-0, 190; Sachse (Texas) High: A 2016 prospect, Duvernay’s teammate Mayden also reported an offer Monday. 247Sports slates Mayden as a four-star recruit, the No. 6 cornerback and No. 117 in the class. His offer list includes Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M, among others. Watch his highlights here. | 574-235-6214 | Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Sophomore running back Robert Washington of Southlake Christian in Huntersville, N.C., received an offer from Notre Dame in April. (Photo provided/The Herald Weekly)