Earlier this week we talked about the uphill climb that Noah Spence would have to replace John Simon on the defensive line. Another heralded five star recruit has equally large and hungry shoes to fill. Adolphus Washington is in his second year with the Scarlet and Gray and by all accounts had a very promising Freshman year backing up both Johnathan Hankins at the tackle position as well as Nathan Williams at the opposing end of the line.
The Army All-American is likely to make that move to defensive end on a permanent basis, given the lack of a true end on the line with both Simon and Williams gone and Tommy Schutt appearing to be ready to plug that inside hole with Michael Bennett. While Spence may be garnering all of the accolades since the Spring Game, it is Washington who has more production on the field in game situations. He closed out the 2012 season with 3 sacks, a forced fumble, not to mention blocking a kick. It is that speed off the end that intrigues me the most and the skill that will most translate into him being able to replicate the past performances of the great Ohio State defensive ends.
In his return to his hometown for the Spring Game (Washington hails from Taft High School in Cincinnati), the 6’3” Sophomore had a heck of a game and could have brought home MVP honors had it not been for Spence’s monster outing. His quote after the game shows a lot of what the young man has learned since stepping on campus:
“I just went out there and played football. I did what my coaches told me to do and it just happened that I got four sacks today.”
Head Coach Urban Meyer has all but anointed Washington as the starter at the DE position opposite Spence, and the duo could be the best in the country. Add in the highly touted recruits Joey Bosa, Tracey Sprinkle, and Tyquan Lewis, and Ohio State looks to have the deepest rotation at the end position in the country. This goes to show that position coach Mike Vrabel not only can recruit, but has that ability to be able to rotate in fresh bodies at an alarming pace to keep the opposing offenses on their toes at all times.
Even Meyer had strong words about Washington’s skills in getting into the backfield, saying:
“We saw him today [during the Spring Game] just have his way with the offensive line. He could be a very good player.”
After reviewing Washington’s senior year highlight reel, I cannot agree more with Coach Meyer.