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Washington Commits to Miami

November 6, 2014
Washington elevates for a 1st down vs. Mercy in 2011 (Photo credit: Bruce Jeffrey)

Washington elevates for a 1st down vs. Mercy in 2011 (Photo credit: Bruce Jeffrey)

After years of hard work and perseverance, Jerome Washington’s dream has finally come true.

He is a Division I football player.

It was a dream that seemed fragile a few years ago when he was still wearing the blue and white, garnering little attention from college coaches. Washington ’12 was a standout three-sport athlete for the Bears in football, basketball, and baseball. On the court he was an All-League interior force, helping the blue and white to a playoff appearance in 2011 and a berth in the County Championship in 2012, but it was on the football field that Washington truly shone.

The two-time 1st Team All-Conference receiver was unguardable. He was not only the tallest player on any field he stepped on, he could also elevate, and any ball that came his way was snared by his 3M hands. Here is what I wrote about him after his junior season in 2010:

Washington is a freak of an athlete.  His hands, strength and leaping ability make him a deadly downfield target for Masakayan. He had a number of big plays this season including long touchdown grabs vs. Southampton, Mercy, and Greenport and will no doubt have even more in his senior season.

It was not a hard prognostication to make. Washington indeed had a tremendous senior season and no game stands out in greater relief than his effort against Mercy that September. His 79 receiving yards in that game was far from his best that season, and he only had three catches, though two went for touchdowns. It was his leadership in the face of adversity that showed how valuable he was to his team. When Marco Masakayan, our starting quarterback, went down with a broken collarbone in the first quarter, a pall of uncertainty hung over Buyers’ Park. It would have been easy for the boys to drop their heads and think about what might have been. Instead, Washington persevered, made some crucial catches, and engendered belief in his team on the way to an unforgettable 43-35 victory over our bitter rivals.

After graduating in 2012, Washington, without a scholarship offer, decided to do a post-graduate year at The Gunnery in Connecticut. This season he signed on with Gattaca New Jersey, an independent football program whose goal is to garner Division I attention for its players. While playing football he has been attending Mercer County Community College in the hopes of earning a transfer, a hope that has finally come to fruition.

The offers came pouring in this week from elite programs such as Nebraska, Washington, Rutgers, and Alabama, winners of three National Championships since 2009. Today he officially committed to the University of Miami Hurricanes, a school with a deep football tradition, as evidenced by their five National Championships.

Jerome was gracious enough to answer a few questions about the monumental decision he made today.

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First of all, congrats on a great year at Gattaca and on the offer. We’re all just so excited for you and proud of you.

Thank you, thank you. That means a lot. It still doesn’t feel real. It honestly feels like a dream.

How have you developed as a player since we last saw you at the Brook?

I’m definitely bigger. I gained about 35 pounds and at this moment I’m 255 pounds. I’ve also gotten faster and my hands have gotten better. I used to get by on my natural ability, but my technique has gotten so much better.

What did you learn in your year with Gattaca football?

Gattaca is what you make of it. No one is pressuring you to do your homework or get into the weight room. No one’s there to make sure you’re able to transfer. It was just one coach out there during practice. It’s on you to put your head down and chase your dream. I definitely learned responsibility this year.

What made you choose Miami over other top programs like Alabama, Rutgers, Nebraska, and Washington?

Rutgers wanted me to walk on last summer, and I would have accepted that, but my coach said he’d get me a Division I scholarship. I trusted in him and I trusted in God. At the end of this season coach sent my film to every school in America. Miami saw my film and contacted me on Twitter. They said they loved my film and that they really wanted me. I’m the only tight end they’re taking in this recruiting class.

What part of your game are you excited to take to the next level at Miami?

I want to be a lot more consistent, to be able to go 100% on every play. I also want to get into the best shape of my life. I didn’t feel like I was in my best shape this year, so I’m definitely excited about that.

After talking with the Miami coaching staff this evening, what kind of feedback did they give you?

Coach [Al] Goldman made it very clear that he’s excited about me. He said when they saw my film they knew right away they wanted me and that I’m the only tight end they’re bringing in this class. He said he’s excited I’m a ‘Cane and he’s expecting big things from me. I’m heading down there in January.

What was the best part of the recruiting process and what was the toughest?

The best part was today. Committing. The worst part was my senior year at Stony Brook when I was turned down a walk-on spot at a local college. I wanted to quit, not because I didn’t love football, but I didn’t think I was good enough to play anywhere. But I had a lot of support from some of the faculty and my family and they helped me chase my dream. My lowest point was also my turning point.

Were you surprised by the amount of interest you received from top tier schools?

Honestly, I was. Throughout this four-year recruiting process I never received that kind of feedback. Lower schools kept telling me I wasn’t good enough, wasn’t big enough, wasn’t fast enough. This has reassured me that I deserve to play Division I football, not because I’m entitled to it, but because I’ve earned it. I worked really hard.

What’s your favorite memory from playing with the Bears?

That Mercy game.

Gosh, that was such a great game.

It was a crazy game… Marco [Masakayan] got hurt on the first or second drive. Wyatt Piazza came in and we hadn’t practiced with him at all at quarterback that week, but he managed the game really well. Donnie [Liotine] had some amazing runs. Everyone was at their best. Great memory.

Well, Jerome, thanks for taking the time to talk. We’re all just so proud of you and excited–everyone was so happy to hear about this. We’re excited to follow the ‘Canes next year.

Thank you so much, that means a lot. Tell everyone thank you.

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  • Watch a video of Washington’s 56-yard TD reception vs. Mercy in 2010 here.
  • Check out his Stony Brook highlight video here.
  • Check out his highlight reel from this past season with Gattaca here.

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Miami

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Diego Vega permalink
    November 7, 2014 10:07 AM

    Awesome news Dan and Congratulations to Jerome! I graduated (MBA) from the U in 1999 and am still down here. The ‘Canes are turning the corner and it’s going to be exciting to go to the games and hear “Jerome Washington from The Stony Brook School with the touchdown!” It will give me chills!

    Jerome – have Dan give you my contact info and let’s get together when you come down in January!!

    Good Luck!

    Like

    • November 7, 2014 10:56 AM

      Diego! Thanks for checking out the story! It’s always fun to see Stony Brook connections like this. We’re a small school with a large impact. I’ll definitely pass on your contact info.

      Thanks again!

      Like

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