Orlando Jones High defensive end Devin Washington has committed to the University of South Carolina, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound rising senior told the Sentinel exclusively this afternoon.
Washington, the No. 5-ranked player in the Sentinel's 2013 Central Florida Super60</>, picked the Gamecocks over UCF and eight others schools he had narrowed his choices down to last week.
Washington currently has just shy of 30 NCAA Division I-A scholarship offers which he had narrowed down to South Carolina, UCF, Clemson, Vanderbilt, NC State, Duke, USF, FIU, Missouri and Ole Miss.
"South Carolina has been looking at me for a long time and I've been contemplating this for a while," Washington said. "When I went up there for a visit I just loved it and loved everything about it.
"I was going to take my time and wait on it, but ... everything just fits me perfectly. I love the way they play. I love the coaching style. The international business school is No. 1 and so that's perfect for me. I can go up there and get some early reps and start learning."
And learning is something at which Washington excels. He ranks No. 3 in his class at Jones High academically, is a National Honor Society member and carries a 4.7 GPA in the Jones Medical Arts Magnet program. He is eyeing a post-football career in healthcare administration.
Washington will not graduate early, instead focusing on his entire senior year of academic achievement.
Running backs coach Everette Sands has been Washington's main recruiting contact at South Carolina and was the person Washington revealed the news to Thursday. He also talked to defensive line coach Brad Lawing and the Gamecocks staff was excited to hear the news.
"It was kind of like they were a little shocked at first. I guess a moment of relief for them since they have been recruiting me really hard," Washington said. "They were really excited. Coach Lawing develops players and I'm ready to get up there and start learning."
Washington said the Gamecocks will be looking at him initiially as a defensive end and that is another reason why he chose South Carolina. Other schools have been talking to the speed rusher about moving to linebacker at the next level. He is
"That's one of the things I like ... they are looking at me as a pass rusher," he said. "They're looking at me as a defensive end, but they said I could drop back in the future if that's how things work out."
Washington, whose brother Nick Washington, a safety at Jacksonville Trinity Christian, committed to Florida earlier this spring, is the 11th commitment to the Gamecocks recruiting Class of 2013. South Carolina also landed Lithonia (Ga.) linebacker David Johnson today and added Raleigh (N.C.) quarterback Connor Mitch two days ago.
Washington said that the way he and his family have handled the recruiting process from the beginning has allowed for a fairly smooth process.
"It can become overwhelming if you let it," he said, "but you can choose to settle the recruiting process down which I did. God led me in the right direction and this is the choice I wanted to make, so i made it. It was never really a burden, but it feels good."
Washington said the decision to pick South Carolina over hometown UCF wasn't as difficult as he may have originally thought it would be, yet he did have the Kinghts high on his list.
"They were up there for a really good reason," Washington said. "It's a great school and I definitely love UCF. I just felt South Carolina was a place where I belong ... It's no hard feelings or anything like that and the coaching staff there has said from the beginning that they support me no matter what my decision is."
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