Darnell Washington: The family side of his early signing period decision
ORLANDO, Fla. — Darnell Washington has signed. Now comes the continued waiting game for that reveal part.
The decision itself? He’s quite happy with all of that.
“I think I made a great decision,” Washington said.
That will now take place until the Under Armour All-American game on ESPN on Jan. 2. That’s when Washington will be a part of three big potential Georgia announcements for that game. That will go along with eight other Bulldog signees and two verbal commitments at that game.
Washington detailed the names of his five finalists on Saturday during the media day event for the Under Armour All-American game.
Those schools: Alabama. Georgia. Florida, Miami. Tennessee.
“It came down to how like I got along with the coaches,” he said. “Not only that with the recruiting pitches. I know what’s real and what’s not. It came down just to like the vibe of the schools and the vibe of the coaches. I just want to work. Work hard. I don’t want anything given. I want to earn everything I get.”
He signed on Dec. 18. The first day of the early period. When he did, he felt that the constant recruiting attention would stop.
It did not.
“Since I didn’t really put it out there, they were just like trying to get in contact. But I didn’t even reply. People kept blowing up my phone. Even people on Instagram. Like fans. They were like ‘oh you signed here’ but I just ignored it and went on about my day.”
Washington said that he didn’t even tell his mother which school he signed with.
“I really just told my coach [and] one of their coaches that I sent it over to,” Washington said. “I don’t even know if their whole staff knows. I told my future wife. That’s pretty much it.”
The tight ends coach that will get to coach him had a unique reaction. This one wasn’t the typical Tiger Woods fist-pump that fans might think.
“I’m pretty sure he already knew I was coming,” Washington said. “We had the best relationship. Ever since they offered they kept communicating. Some schools offer and kind of fade away and come back at the end. But no, it was like a daily thing.”
“I’m pretty sure he already knew I was coming.”
Washington said he did not have any contact with the coaches of the schools that he did not choose.
“I just did it,” Washington said of his signing. “Sent it over. The other schools they probably kind of got it by now. I didn’t go there.”
Darnell Washington: What he likes about Georgia
Washington said that something about Georgia was just “different” to him.
“Every place is different but when I was there, I really can’t even,” Washington said. “I really don’t know. I think Dell McGee was like an honest coach. Even though he is a running back coach. At that time, he was the one recruiting me. I think he was a good dude. A good-hearted dude.”
He said he has a couple of thoughts about how he will reveal his college choice. He has a collection of those hats.
“I have the hats,” he said. “My daughter is going to be at the game. I think I am just going to have her with a shirt under or something like that.”
Her name is Laila Washington. She is eight months old.
He said the fact that having her in his life changes things. A lot.
“It changed real quick,” Washington said. “It was my decision. I know what I did. Just life-changing to be a father. You have got to be a man right now. It is not just thinking about you. It is about her. Or ‘Is my next move good for her’ or ‘will it break her?’ so every move I make I want to put her in the best position I can be.”
That’s why he notices a class that Georgia is building. And can potentially add with his name and 5-star RB Zach Evans and 5-star CB Kelee Ringo. It is something, but it is not earth-moving to him.
It sort of equates to the same thing that Ohio State is doing. The Buckeyes might sign the most talented group of receivers the recruiting industry has seen in some time.
Think Alabama’s current group. Those guys can be that good.
Washington notices that. But just has to have a different outlook.
“That’s really like one of the last priorities I look at,” he said. “Because I know every school is building something.”
It is a sign of maturity there for him.
“I’m a little different,” he said. “I’m a father. Thre are some other recruits that are, but I look to put her in the best position. For her with the daycare. Because I know I am going to be busy. With practice. Everything. Just yeah. For both of us.”
He said his plan is to move to his new school and live in the family housing portion of campus. To do that, he needs to marry her mother.
“I really don’t know the rules,” he said. “I don’t know if that is different in each state, but that’s the plan.”
He’s not perfect. There are flashes of immaturity still. Washington even brought that topic up.
“Funny,” he said of his recruiting process. “Because I had actually silently committed to a couple of schools. Weekends after weekends.”
“I feel bad because I kind of got their hopes up a little bit,” he said. “But then when I was doing all that I went to Vegas and started realizing like is this really the place? I went in kind of clueless. I was just saying what they wanted to hear. I know other schools wanted me to commit so I pretty much just silently committed multiple places, but then I really was clueless.”
When asked, he counted up four schools that he gave a silent commitment to.