Washington came to USC in the same class as Reggie Bush and LenDale White. When the trio first hit the field in the fall of 2003, Washington was the first freshman back to make an impact. However, he was injured early on that season, and ended up having to redshirt, while Bush and White took off and never looked back. Washington ended his freshman campaign with 19 carries for 65 yards, but the bulk of that was with an ankle injury that was later revealed to be a stress fracture. The following two seasons at USC, Washington had academic problems and was ineligible to play with the team during the season. As a junior, the job was virtually handed to him with nothing but freshmen along side him. He took advantage, leading the team in rushing with 744 yards and nine touchdowns. He was hindered by leg injuries most of the year, resulting in him splitting the carries with freshmen CJ Gable and Emmanuel Moody.
Washington has a nice blend of skills for the running back position. He is built thick, and is tough to bring down between the tackles. He is a strong interior runner, and does not go down on first contact. While he didn’t get much of a chance to show it last year because of injuries, Washington also has very good speed. He has the speed to turn the corner and outrun defenders. He has also developed his receiving skills and is a legit weapon leaking out of the backfield.
Obviously Washington has some durability issues. He has had ankle, hammy, and knee injuries during his time at SC, and has never carried the load. For a power back, he needs to prove he can take more of a beating. Academic issues also hindered Washington’s progress early on in his career, but he has been eligible the past two seasons, so he has seemed to grow up.
Washington is a name that many know, but most do not realize how talented he is. USC is extremely deep at the running back position, but Washington should get his touches. Washington shed weight in the post season, but he may have dropped too much. He ideally should carry between 220-225lbs, and he dropped to 211 at the combine. He will play a little heavier and is a big back that could be a solid selection in the fifth round area.