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Jerome Washington: Charting His Own Course

September 5, 2018
Washington Rutgers

Washington in action last season

This afternoon Jerome Washington ’12 was profiled by Bradley Derechailo of ScarletKnights.com.

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Jerome Washington knows a thing or two about hard work. The Rutgers senior tight end obtained his real estate license when he was 18 years old and rented out apartments in the New York City area during his time in junior college.

According to Washington, it was a hobby that eventually turned into something of a passion.

“God willing, I would love to play in the NFL, but I also love real estate,” Washington said. “Real estate seems like a fun job to me and just the thrill of making a sale is pretty cool.”

That work ethic and determination is reflected in his path to Rutgers, which brought him up and down the east coast before the talented pass catcher landed in Piscataway.

After a season at Gunnery Prep School in Washington, Connecticut, in 2013, Washington enrolled in classes at Mercer Community College. Because Mercer did not have a football team, Washington played for the Gattaca Football Club, where he collected 24 catches for 510 yards and eight touchdowns in 2014.

His production at Gattaca earned him a scholarship to the University of Miami, where he appeared in nine games for the Hurricanes in 2015. But after his sophomore season in Coral Gables, Washington looked for another opportunity.

“It’s definitely been a long road for me but I would say it is still not over yet,” Washington said. “There is still a chapter that has not been written, so I am just excited for what the future holds.”

Writing that next chapter of his journey brought the Elizabeth, New Jersey, native back home to the Garden State. Washington transferred to Rutgers in 2016, sitting out an entire season before lacing up for the Scarlet Knights as a junior in 2017. For Washington, the chance to compete for his home team was something he could not pass up.

“There is nothing like it and it’s definitely something I dreamed about since I was a little kid,” Washington said. “I did not think it really was going to be reality until it happened, so I am definitely just blessed to have this opportunity.”

Washington took full advantage of that chance in his first season of eligibility. Last fall, Washington hauled in 28 receptions for 282 yards and a touchdown, picking up 13 first downs along the way while averaging 10.1 yards per reception.

The six-foot-four, 256-pound tight end had three or more receptions in six games for the Scarlet Knights and produced a catch in 11-of-12 games with a high of six receptions in the season opener against a ranked Washington team.

The country has taken notice of Rutgers’ leading returner in receiving yards. Over the summer, Washington was named to the John Mackey Award Preseason Watch List, an award presented annually to the most outstanding collegiate tight end.

With the return of offensive coordinator John McNulty, fans can expect even more out of Washington. McNulty, who comes to Piscataway after a two-year stint as the tight end coach with the Los Angeles Chargers, has a history of utilizing tight ends in his play calling.

Washington’s production coupled with McNulty’s tight end-friendly offense might have fans drooling at the possibilities for the veteran Scarlet Knight pass catcher. But Washington is level-headed when it comes to predictions for Rutgers as they enter 2018 under third-year head coach Chris Ash.

“I would say my individual goals match our team goals,” Washington said. “I just want us to be as successful as possible and for us to play to the best of our potential.”

Washington plans to help the team succeed both on the field and in the Hale Center. The elder statesman of the tight end room, Washington said he has embraced mentoring teammates Travis Vokolek, Nakia Griffin-Stewart and Daevon Robinson. The quartet has formed a unit Ash said could be “one of the best in the league.”

A strong season from Washington would result in plenty of NFL teams showing interest in the athletic tight end’s services. Despite a non-traditional path to the Division I college gridiron, Washington just wants to enjoy his final season “On the Banks” with his teammates.

“It’s definitely been a great time here at Rutgers,” Washington said. “Being able to play in front of family and meeting a lot of people that I can call brothers is something I’ll have with me for the rest of my life.”

And if Washington decides not to pursue football after this season, he will have a Rutgers’ degree and a real estate license to use to his full advantage.

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Rutgers

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