Mostly Sunny
H 65° L 36°
  • clear-night
    Current Conditions
    Mostly Sunny. H 65° L 36°
  • clear-day
    Mostly Sunny. H 65° L 36°
  • clear-day
    Sunny. H 59° L 35°

Morning show on-demand

00:00 | 00:00


Home team on-demand

00:00 | 00:00


The crossover

00:00 | 00:00

Why 5-star ATH Darnell Washington has emerged as a top 2020 target

Why 5-star ATH Darnell Washington has emerged as a top 2020 target

Why 5-star ATH Darnell Washington has emerged as a top 2020 target

Why 5-star ATH Darnell Washington has emerged as a top 2020 target

Darnell Washington-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting

Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings at least four days a week. The play sheet today calls for a real introduction to one of the biggest names for the 2020 cycle in Athens. That’s 5-star ATH Darnell Washington out of Nevada. 

They call him “Lethal Nell” in Nevada.

The Darnell Washington file would open up with this: 1) Already named to the Nike Opening finals; 2) 6-foot-7.5 and 255 pounds; 3) Clocks a laser 4.78 in the 40.

Washington could very well add a 6-foot-8-sized exclamation point to the future of the TE room in Athens.

But there are clicks everywhere that will take DawgNation readers down the path of stars and size and rankings.

Players make plays. What was the biggest one all that height and weight and athleticism and length made for Desert Pines?

It was not a big ball he snared racing past a safety from the tight end spot. 

Darnell Washington-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting
Georgia has done what appears to be an excellent job so far in recruiting Darnell Washington. (Darnell Washington/Twitter)

Nor was it one he authored as a defensive end. (But those are why he’s labeled a 5-star ATH on the 247Sports Composite industry standard.)

Washington did not even go “Lethan Nell” from the linebacker spot. (But that is where he will likely see a lot of new reps in 2019.)

It was what he did when he lined up as a “3-tech” defensive tackle.

He’s that big and that long and that fast and came up with a “Rewind that” from the interior of the defensive line.

“It was against Arbor View,” Desert Pines assistant coach David Hill said. “We were playing a game and he was playing D-tackle.”

“He batted the ball with his right hand and popped it up in the air and caught it with his left [hand] and started running and all the kids piled on him, he pitched it to his teammate and he scored a touchdown.”

Can’t teach or coach that. This is the sort of athlete who can even crush a golf ball 300 yards.

“That’s probably the most athletic thing I have seen him do,” Hill said while recalling that play.

Check his reel below. Feel free to skip to the fourth play if you can’t wait to see that one.

The Darnell Washington highlight tape section 

The 27-second film review follows below.

Play 1: Oh my. Who is that way out wide? Darnell? I thought he was a tight end. Man, he’s big. This route is basically chaos. Scramble drill. Throw it to Darnell. He’ll catch it. 

He does. The poor soul trying to tackle him in open space looks like the Avengers trying to trip up “Ant-Man” after he super-sized himself. No chance after he caught it. Fire up the band. Six points. Lethal. 

Darnell Washington-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting
Former Arizona fullback and current Desert Pines assistant coach David Hill (left) and Darnell Washington have a unique relationship. (David Hill/Twitter)

Play 2: He’s at tight end now. The throw and catch touchdown. Man, his arms are long. 

Play 3: He’s the punter? A fake? This is 4th-and-15? Yep, that 24-yard gain down was basically stealing. Nice clip.

Is it too much to want to see how well he could’ve punted it, though? 

Play 4: You know how that one turns out. (Hat tip to coach Hill.) He goes go-go-gadget arms but doesn’t run far. This play was in the Nevada state playoffs in the final game of his junior season. No scrubs on this field. 

Watch Washington. He bounds off the ground and starts jumping up and down. It shows true joy when he’s not the one getting the TD.

Play 5: Another seam straight downfield. He goes up and gets a ball over the top of blanket coverage. There are six guys around him. But he’s so big and long he is open. When all six try to get him on the ground, it is amusing. The key word is “try” there. 

The officials blow the play dead before he makes anyone else look bad in front of their momma.

It is a highly enjoyable film. Watch it all. It will not disappoint.

“His best tool is the way he understands football,” Hill said. “He really understands football at a high level and is very coachable. Competes at a high level. There are plays where there are guys running 10 and 15 yards ahead of him and he’s running 50 yards downfield to catch them.”

“That’s the thing I think separates him from a lot of different players. It is a relentlessness.”

What’s happening with Darnell Washington and UGA

Darnell Washington-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting
Darnell Washington has some intel of his own about the future of the tight end position at Georgia. (Darnell Washington/Twitter)

Arik Gilbert, the 5-star Georgian, is another priority of priorities for this class. The best possible scenario for UGA is to add 10 stars worth of athletes to Todd Hartley’s room.

Get ready for a lot of “12” personnel discussions. Think the head coach likes tight end questions now? Wait and see what happens if James Coley gets to sic Gilbert and Washington on SEC safeties and linebackers.

Darnell Washington-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting
One college coach compared Darnell Washington to Duke basketball freshman Zion Williamson in terms of an early instant impact at the college level. (Darnell Washington/Twitter)

Both go over 6-foot-5 on the growth chart, have great athleticism and the sort of length that goes on a flatbed at Costco.

Georgia has already distinguished itself here with Washington. He has built a rapport over two visits to Georgia. Hill explains why.

“The first time it was good,” he said. “But it was different. Once people know who you are and you kind of solidify your status it kind of gets better.”

Washington had a very successful second visit to UGA earlier this month.

The second time was a lot better,” Hill said. “The first time was just like a spur of the moment and ‘yeah We like you’ but now this time it was like ‘you are a priority’ and ‘We’ve got to know you’ with that.”

Hill feels UGA has made a move with Washington.

“Just because of the relationships,” Hill said. “Then the level of competition they play sending so many people to the NFL. Competing. Having such a personable head coach and things like that.”

It goes a little deeper.

“I think he loves Georgia honestly,” Hill said. “I think he connected with the players and the people there. And I think he can see himself playing there. I definitely think that’s one of his top 3 schools.”

He just sees “the real” on those two trips to Georgia.

“I want to hear the facts and the real,” Darnell Washington said. “I don’t want a coach to come in and say this and say that and when I get there it is not that and love the real stuff up front and they gave me the real. The players that are there I enjoy being with them and hanging out with them. Yeah, that’s pretty much it.”

Washington will not be able to enroll early. The current thinking is he will announce his choice at the Under Armour All-American Game next January.

He’s thinking about the Notre Dame game for a fall official to UGA. The other schools in the mix here sound like Florida, Miami, Penn State and Tennessee.

How does Georgia compare to those great options?

“I really can’t compare them,” he said. “Yeah, I really can’t. It is just different.”

The Desert Pines junior went on to compare downtown Athens to a night in Vegas. He named Georgia assistants Todd Hartley and Dell McGee early on in his thoughts about what he likes best about UGA.

“Coach Todd [Hartley] and Dell [McGee] you know,” Washington said. “Like I said. They are real truthful people. No sugar coating with them.”

What fuels Darnell Washington?

Hill serves a greater role for the Jaguars on their team. The Desert Pines alum will drive 23 miles from home past several good jobs in his area to work at his old school.

“I always thought it was cool to come back to where I came from, to give back to these kids and pour into them,” he said. “That is what motivates me.”

His ministry is life skills. Back in his day, he went 5-foot-9 and about 245. Desert Pines had a bowling ball-type who was listed at fullback when he was at Arizona.

He has gotten the chance to take Washington on a lot of these recruiting visits.

“I’ve always tried to take pride in doing things for kids that I would have wanted somebody else to do for me,” he said. 

With Washington, it seems like he has found someone who meshes with the message he is trying to share.

“Basically [the reason to play football] is to change my family’s lives across the next generation,” he said.

He comes from an area where the term “financial hardships” will not cover it. Poverty might be a better term. Yet with that, Hill says Washington has a giving heart.

“We recently took a trip when we came back from I think Georgia,” Hill said. “We spent some time a couple of days later and we were at Starbucks together. He was like ‘Do you want a drink’ and it was just him looking out. He was like ‘I only got 10 dollars but I can split it with you’ and he doesn’t have a lot but he is just trying to show his attitude and appreciation and gratitude for all the little things.”

Hill has heard a lot of things from college coaches. He heard one say Washington could make an early impact the way that a certain freshman has on the Duke basketball team.

“They think he is rare and can be like a Zion Williamson type with impact right away because of his athleticism,” Hill said. “He still has to work but he has so much potential he has not even tapped into. He can really take an offense to the next level with what he can do in the run game and the throw game.”

What position will Darnell Washington play?

Washington rates as the nation’s No. 2 ATH for the 2020 cycle on the 247Sports composite. (Gilbert is No. 1 on that same ranking)

The position ranking does make sense because of the plays he makes from the defensive end, defensive tackle, tight end and even the punter position.

Darnell Washington-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting
David Hill shared a few photos from their most recent UGA trip on his Twitter account. (David Hill/Twitter)

Hill has his opinion about which side of the ball he will play. He’s always known him as being big. Washington was at the 6-foot-5 mark when he was a freshman.

He could run and move back then. Athletes are like that.

“I think he should be a tight end because that’s what he loves,” Hill said. “He likes [defensive end] but he loves it at tight end. He likes catching touchdowns.”

Washington isn’t so sure.

“This goes across my head a lot,” he said. “Sometimes I want to catch touchdowns. Sometimes I want to tackle people and slam them. Whatever. But I will say I want to play tight end.”

With that, Washington has gotten his own “Intel” about the Bulldog offense. It will require hyper-athletic tight ends like the ones Hartley reeled in for the staff at Miami.

“I think the Georgia offense is about to change,” Washington said. “Because I know Todd [Hartley] and the type of tight ends he likes to recruit. I’m not throwing shade at [any] current Georgia tight end but I think they are more of a blocking style. Since Todd has got there what he did for Miami with Brevin [Jordan] and the other tight ends they have there are more mobile. Mobile enough to run routes like a receiver.”

“So I think that will change with the tight ends he likes to recruit. He is going to go after guys like Brevin and try to get them to Georgia.”

Jordan was the nation’s No. 1 TE out of the 2018 class. His hometown? That was Las Vegas, too. That tight end had 32 catches and four touchdowns last year at Miami.

Other than that, he’s still a kid. Loves “Fortnite” and to dance. Even though he admits he probably cannot create viral tweets when he does “The Wall” or any popular dances.

“I’m just a goofy person overall,” Washington said.

Goofy. But still pretty lethal on the field.


Miss any Intel? The DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to speed just as fast as former Georgia All-American LB Roquan Smith found the ball after the snap.

The post Why 5-star ATH Darnell Washington has emerged as a top 2020 target appeared first on DawgNation.

Read More

Georgia Sports News

  • Devon Gales, the former Southern University football player who was paralyzed in a 2015 game against UGA, is returning to football. Gales has been hired as an assistant football coach at Jefferson High School, per accessWDUN.com’s Bo Wilson. The new job will be around 20 miles away from UGA. Former UGA recruiting coordinator Bob Pittard is a social studies teacher at the high school. Per the website, the hiring of Gales was the idea of Jefferson superintendent Dr. John Jackson. It was after Gales shared his story with the Jefferson senior class. “It was brought to our attention upon meeting this wonderful family that Devon missed the game and practices and being part of a football team in the game he still loved so much,” Jefferson coach Gene Cathcart told the website. “Dr. John Jackson had the idea of getting him involved in our program in some way and how our young men would benefit from his living example, character, strength in facing adversity and perseverance.” UGA donors and fans raised funds to build a handicapped-accessible house in Jefferson for Gales and his family. The post Devon Gales makes his return to football appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia coach Kirby Smart has emphasized several times in several ways that championship football requires all units working together. Indeed, much of the Bulldogs’ offensive and defensive scheming is predicated on Smart and his staff analyzing strengths and weaknesses and game arriving at core alignments and plays. The sooner Georgia knows itself, the better, and that makes the Bulldogs’ 15 spring practice dates pivotal. Here’s a way-too-early positional group ranking, an order that could be affected by an updated injury report or the emergence of a newcomer. 1. Offensive line The lock: Junior left tackle Andrew Thomas, Outland Trophy candidate. The question: Sophomore Cade Mays, where does he fit in? 2. Defensive backs The lock: Senior safety J.R. Reed, team leader of defense. The question: Sophomore Tyson Campbell, will skills match elite speed and ideal length? 3. Specialists The lock: Senior kicker Rodrigo Blankenship. The question: Can Georgia adequately replace Mecole Hardman? 3. Quarterbacks The lock: Junior Jake Fromm, third-year starter, offense on his shoulders. The question: How much of the offense can freshman Dwan Mathis pick up? 4. Linebackers The lock: None. The question: Can senior Tae Crowder become the playmaker Georgia lacked last year? 5. Running backs The lock: Junior tailback D’Andre Swift, Hesiman Trophy candidate The question (s): Will production match 5-star ratings of James Cook and Zamir White in 2019? 6. Receivers/tight ends The lock: Junior receiver J.J. Holloman is the go-to target. The question: Can graduate transfer tight end Eli Wolf fill the void left by Isaac Nauta? 7. Defensive linemen The lock: None. The question: Will sophomore Jordan Davis become an SEC dominator? More Georgia football spring 2019 Georgia linebackers: most improved unit? UGA running backs 4 spring football questions 5 questions for UGA spring football, it’s Jake Fromm’s team Does Georgia have championship level Defensive line? Questions 4 questions for Georgia football O-Line 3 pre-spring football questions on Georgia QB situation Kirby Smart provides preview on young receivers  Georgia secondary still best in the SEC? The post Georgia football: Way-too-early team spring position group rankings appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Best I can tell, it has been my task to cover college football spring practices for about 26 of the 31 years that encompass my sportswriting career. There were a few years that I wasn’t covering college football. There were a few more that I bounced around and saw a little bit of a lot of different teams. Most of time, though, I’ve been charged with covering all of Georgia’s spring practices. There have been times those practice sessions have been pretty interesting, some times that they’ve been incredibly dull and all over the place between. I’m anticipating the Bulldogs’ spring practice this year to be fairly intriguing. There are a lot of reasons for that, but the main one is the influx of new players. Early enrollment was a fairly new concept in the 1990s and still a bit of a rarity then. Quarterback Eric Zeier was one of the first high-profile recruits to do it and it served him very well that first year. Zeier served notice at the 1991 G-Day Game that he was going to be a factor that season, and boy was he ever. Since then, early enrollment has become a regular part of the recruiting process. Nowadays, everybody everywhere has at least a hand full of signees that come in early and get embedded with their respective teams since the first week of January. But it remains somewhat rare to see as many new players come in early — 14 — as Georgia has this year. Fourteen is a lot. The most ever for the Bulldogs. They had 13 in that 2013 class that included 30 total signees (and experienced some of the worst attrition ever for Georgia football). It’s not the most in college football. Alabama had 16 enroll early out of its 23-man recruiting class this year. But 14 is a bunch of new Bulldogs, no matter how one slices it up. That in and of itself cranks up the competition factor. Georgia has several areas in which it’d love to get some impact from from some of these early arrivals. Quarterback, linebacker and defensive back immediately spring to mind. I’d say receiver, too. But, oddly enough, the Bulldogs weren’t able to bring in any of their wideout signees early Dominick Blaylock happens to attend a school in Walton High that doesn’t allow it. Georgia has experienced the same thing with players it has signed out of Pace Academy, including Jamaree Salyer, Andrew Thomas and Trey Blount. But that’s where spring ball has changed a good bit over the years. It’s much more competitive over the course of 15 practices than it used to be. Those sessions can go a long way to determining who is going to be starter in the fall. Not always, but often. The ideal situation is getting as many positions locked down and decided in the spring, so those guys can work together as a unit as much as possible on a volunteer basis over the summer. That way they hit the ground running in preseason practice. No doubt you’ve read numerous accounts of what various people believe the be the most pressing priorities of the spring for the Bulldogs. As for me, the order of importance goes this way: Determine a receiver rotation; Identify a backup quarterback; Establish a starting center; Settle on a right cornerback; Figure out who else will help on defense. Going with the receivers first is an easy call for me. It has been well-documented that the Bulldogs lost 106 catches and 20 touchdowns from last year’s wideouts, the majority of those being compiled by juniors Riley Ridley and Mecole Hardman. But that number actually goes up by 35 catches and 3 touchdowns when tight end Isaac Nauta and running back Elijah Holyfield are included. So the emphasis on throwing and catching the ball in spring practice is going to be heavy. It’s usually that way anyway this time of year, because it is rare for teams to pound on each other a lot this far away from the actual season. That said, Georgia will need to mindful of Jake Fromm’s arm health and be careful not to overthrow him. To that end, the Bulldogs would like to come out with a good idea who is going to be Fromm’s primary backup. I wrote extensively on Sunday about redshirt sophomore Stetson Bennett coming back via junior college and giving Georgia an immediate competent presence with regard to already knowing the offensive system. But freshman Dwan Mathis remains an intriguing figure, and one can he sure that the Bulldogs will work hard and fast to determine exactly what they have in this 6-foot-6 athlete who has run a 10.8 100 meters. Trey Hill leads the way to succeed Lamont Gaillard at center, but that’s not a given. As always, Sam Pittman probably suffer brain cramps from exploring all possibilities for determining the combination that results in the best five across the board. The competition to succeed Deandre Baker at right cornerback certainly will be intriguing. But starting with elevating Tyson Campbell there as Georgia did in the bowl game is the first in what are all positive alternatives at all the secondary positions. If early enrollees such as JUCO transfer D.J. Daniel or Tyrique Stevenson end up winning out, all the better. Same with outside linebackers. The recruiting at this position has been other-worldly. Between the 5-stars that are coming back and the ones coming in, something is going to have Conversely, that’s why I don’t list inside linebackers here. Certainly the Bulldogs want higher-level play than it got from the returnees last season. But I believe all the existing alternatives to be better than adequate and not necessarily paramount to Georgia’s cause.  And as exciting a prospect as is Nakobe Dean, ranked the No. 1 inside linebacker in America, I always think back to Roquan Smith’s struggles as a true freshman and how it was late in his sophomore season before he emerged as the star he actually was. Same on the D-line, same on the O-line, same in the offensive backfield, same on special teams. The rest of it is very much organic. That is, it’ll come together naturally through the teaching of concepts and fundamentals. The Bulldogs seek competition and improvement, but they’ll be able to go to war with they’ve got. What you’re NOT going to see is running back D’Andre Swift get much in the way of contact. I highly doubt you’ll see Zamir White get any at all. White, the heralded 2018 signee known as Zeus, is less than seven months removed from a second knee surgery that came eight months after the first. The Bulldogs will be very interested in seeing what the former No. 1 back in America can do, but that can wait until late summer, when he will have had a year to rehab and recover. Maybe the most important factor will be the Bulldogs getting used to some new voices and concepts from the coaching staff. For the first time since Kirby Smart has been head coach, somebody other than Jim Chaney or Mel Tucker will be putting together the practice script for the offense and defense, respectively. That said, I suspect it won’t change significantly from what Georgia has been doing the last four years. That’s why James Coley, Dan Lanning and Glenn Schumann were appointed coordinators. They’re going to give Smart what he wants, which is more of the same. But it’s that — the newness factor — that’s going to make this spring so fun and interesting. And then, of course, they’ll tear up all the depth charts and start from scratch in August. The post Newness factor is what makes Kirby Smart’s 4th spring practice his most interesting at Georgia appeared first on DawgNation.
  • KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) - Atlanta Braves right-hander Julio Teheran is set to make his sixth straight start on opening day. The Braves said Monday that Teheran will face the Phillies on March 28 in Philadelphia. Teheran's run ties Hall of Famer Warren Spahn (1957-62) for the longest in Braves' franchise history during the modern era. Teheran is 1-1 with a 2.73 ERA on opening day. Earlier this spring, it had been thought Mike Foltynewicz might start on opening day for the Braves. But he's likely to be out until at least mid-April with a sore right elbow. New Phillies slugger Bryce Harper is expected to make his debut in the opener. He's had a lot of career success against Teheran, going 18 for 40 (.450) with eight homers and 19 RBIs. Teheran went 9-9 last season with a 3.94 ERA in 31 starts.