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

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  • JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — DawgNation has reported a lot about Carson Beck over the last week. Beck has his eye on several top targets for the rest of the 2020 class. He made a throw in the Florida Class 8A state championship that folks will not soon forget. The 6 foot-4 (and a half-inch) rising senior even convinced his QB trainer why the Bulldogs were a perfect fit for his game at the college level. His trainer, Denny Thompson, knows the 4-star QB as well as anyone. He has helped chisel an Elite 11 QB out of a guy with just four games of varsity experience prior to last season. Beck then took the reins at Mandarin High School and went on to be a rare junior to win the “Mr. Football” honor for the state of Florida. Thompson has strong opinions and knows just how to deliver them. That’s why he hosts a popular sports talk radio show in Jacksonville. He says the things most might expect Beck’s trainer to say. He even shared he would put aside his allegiance to the Gators (as a fan) when it comes to Beck. That’s his guy. After all. In Beck, he has a pupil that he feels has as strong of a “functional arm” as he has seen recently in a prospect. There was this one other guy. His name will come up in that video interview up above. If you watch Carson Beck work, it does sometimes look like he is firing off a pair of six-shooters both before and after snaps. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation) Where Carson Beck can get better  He also knows the work Beck still has to do. The young passer needs to work on the technical aspects of the position. Most big-time guys his age still need to do that, too. Thompson shared his most important teaching point for Beck. “That’s probably the part of his game where it is like ‘Carson for you to take that real next step I need you to throw the same exact ball every single time and know exactly where it is going’ and we’re working on that. A lot of that is weight distribution and has nothing to do with the arm. [It] has everything to do with weight distribution and how you use your right hip and things of that nature.” He’s encouraged by the fact Beck is always asking him “why” things need to be done a certain way. It leads to a deeper understanding of what he is trying to learn how to do the same way every single time. That’s what he wants to see in a young man with tools like his. Beck would devour the game film of the next opponent on Sunday mornings with Thompson. Those sessions would last up to four hours. Thompson wouldn’t be able to deal with his wife most weekends if those sessions extended any longer. “Those guys were then beaten by the time he hit the practice field on Monday,” Thompson said. “That is his mindset with the work it takes to be great.” What Carson Beck can be at Georgia Beck is not a polished product yet. Even though all the tools are there. Thompson does make that clear. He is still big on what he can bring to the table, though. That was evident when he gave a very strong answer to this query: “ What can Georgia be with Carson Beck?” “I think with the momentum that they’ve got recruiting I think Carson is the guy who wins you a national championship,” Thompson said. “I really do.” Big bold words. But then Thompson continued to provide the right baseline to the conversation. He did so this time by adding real accountability to his own methods. He might regret saying this later. But he still said it. “Carson is the kind of kid that if he is not a first-round [NFL] guy I failed him,” Thompson said. “We failed him as coaches. Everything is there: Head. Size. Arm. Everything you want is there. Leadership. I mean he’s recruiting his butt off for Georgia right now. Everything is there.” “So if something other than injury happens. Then it is probably on me as a trainer or them as coaches or whatever it is. He is definitely the kind of talent though that you can win a national championship with.” Want to see the full context of that statement? With a bonus thought about who Thompson feels is the best college comparison to Beck? Check out the video interview above. Carson Beck is set to enroll at UGA in January of 2020. He currently rates as the nation’s No. 3 pro-style passer for 2020 on the 247Sports Composite ratings. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation) Carson Beck Beck on deck: Getting to know the UGA commit Carson Beck commits to UGA Carson Beck escalates his recruiting efforts for the Bulldogs Beck names off his top 5 targets for the 2020 class in Athens The throw Carson Beck made that the state of Florida is still buzzing about  The first Beck win for UGA? Getting a Gator to gush about the present and future in Athens The post The two strongest statements yet about what Carson Beck can be at Georgia appeared first on DawgNation.
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  • Georgia football is the No. 1 topic every day on DawgNation Daily — the daily podcast for Georgia Bulldogs fans. Catch up on everything happening with UGA athletics with host Brandon Adams and the DawgNation experts as they break down the latest Georgia football recruiting news and discuss coach Kirby Smart’s quest to return the Bulldogs to the top of the SEC. On episode No. 950 (May 21, 2019) of the podcast, Georgia fans can hear a discussion about how 4-star defensive tackle Jalen Carter’s commitment addresses UGA fans’ concerns about the program’s defensive line recruiting. Georgia football podcast: UGA appears to address a fan concern in emphatic fashion Beginning of the show: Georgia hasn’t recruited well enough on its defensive line according to many UGA fans. I’ll discuss on today’s show how 4-star defensive tackle Jalen Carter’s commitment potentially calms those concerns. 10-minute mark: I share audio from UGA coach Kirby Smart’s appearance at a fan gathering in Macon, Ga and invite DawgNation Daily listeners and viewers to register for a chance to win a VIP stay at Callaway Resort and Gardens for DawgNation Days of Summer. 15-minute mark: DawgNation’s recruiting insider Jeff Sentell joins the show. Some of the topics covered include… Jeff’s thoughts on Carter Reaction to 4-star offensive lineman Justin Rogers’ Kentucky commitment The latest on 5-star offensive tackle Paris Johnson 4-star defensive end Jacolbe Cowan’s intriguing description of his conversations with 5-star recruits, Kendall Milton and Kelee Ringo And a look at UGA’s so-called “scavenger hunt” 35-minute mark: I take a look at CBS’ ranking of SEC teams’ schedule strength. 40-minute mark: I share the latest edition of our Summer Q&A. End of show: I share the Gator Hater Updater. NOTE: If you’d like to share your answers to the Summer Q&A you can enter your responses in the comment section below or reach out to BA on Twitter @DawgNationDaily. The post Georgia football podcast: UGA appears to address a fan concern in emphatic fashion appeared first on DawgNation.
  • The Georgia Bulldogs signed the No. 2 overall recruiting class for the 2019 recruiting cycle. It landed a total of five 5-star prospects, including the No. 1 prospect in the 247Sports Composite rankings in Nolan Smith. That’s before even mentioning a player like incoming wide receiver Dominick Blaylock. But none of the 20 freshman members of the class were selected to ESPN’s instant impact team. Put together by Tom Luginbill, the list highlights some of the top incoming freshmen who have a chance to make meaningful contributions right away. Some of the players named include LSU running back John Emery Jr. and Auburn quarterback Bo Nix. But there was not a player from Georgia’s class named. Interestingly, there was also not an Alabama player named in the class as well. The Crimson Tide signed the No. 1 overall class in the country for the 2019 cycle. Texas, which had the No. 3 class also did not have a player named. Saying all that though, there’s a very good chance that a number of freshmen play a meaningful role for the Bulldogs. Smith — along with inside linebacker Nakobe Dean —really stood out this spring for the Bulldogs. Related:  The national media is making a big mistake by sleeping on Nolan Smith And given the needs Georgia has at wide receiver, it should not come as a surprise to see either Blaylock or 5-star wide receiver George Pickens play a big role early. Georgia coach Kirby Smart has also mentioned Blaylock working heavily on special teams. “We think Dom can play all three spots, slot and both outside,”  Smart said. “He’s very bright and intelligent. He picks up things well. We think he’s going to help in the return game, too. But it’s not like we’re sitting there going, ‘He’s a slot receiver.’ We think he can play all of them.” Related:  Kirby Smart says all Georgia Bulldogs, incoming and otherwise, have made the grades to play Georgia has also seen a number of players who weren’t thought to be early impact players make significant contributions in their first year. This time a year ago, no one was saying much of anything about defensive lineman Jordan Davis. Now he’s a key member of the Georgia defense. And most thought that Jake Fromm would end up being the backup to Jacob Eason in his freshman season. Fromm went on to win the SEC and lead Georgia to an appearance in the national title game. Georgia and its talented pack of freshmen begin the 2019 season on Aug. 31 when the Bulldogs visit Vanderbilt. Best Georgia football stories from around DawgNation Meet 6-foot-6 Josh Braun: Brains, rhinos, swing dancing, tennis and a mauler’s mindset Fire and ice: Incoming Miami transfer compares Kirby Smart to Mark Richt VIDEO: Kirby Smart, Tom Crean update fans on Georgia Bulldogs during ‘Coaches Caravan’ Why commitment of 4-star DT Jalen Carter is a big win for Georgia football Kirby Smart expects QB Jake Fromm to have more ‘offensive input’ in 2019 Update on injury status of UGA running back Zamir White Nation’s No. 10 DT Jalen Carter has made his college decision     The post ESPN snubs Georgia freshmen on instant impact list appeared first on DawgNation.