By Darius Joshua
From sunny Orlando to snow covered Syracuse; that will be the journey for the newest recruit to commit to the Orange next year. James Washington, a 6-2 220 pound defensive end from Winter Park high school in Orlando, verbally committed to Syracuse on Thursday.
His decision was influenced by several factors, including teammate linebacker Bobby Van Warner possibly attending Syracuse as well.
“Bobby’s parents went there and they had good things to say about the school…And I’ve always liked Syracuse in basketball and football just because of the atmosphere they have up there," he said in an Orlando Sentinel article.
One factor that didn’t deter his decision was the Syracuse snow.
Temperatures often below freezing and average snowfalls reaching over 100 inches a year not to mention the length of the winters, starting as early as October and extending into April and sometimes even May, according to city-data.com.
The cold weather doesn’t worry Washington, though, he said.
In April, however Washington didn’t know where he would end up. He only had offers from Duke and Cincinnati, not much else.
Then the schools came, he now has 17 offers, including South Carolina, Illinois, and some other Big East schools like Pittsburgh and West Virginia. The lack of attention worried him and he thought he wasn’t working hard enough.
“…When they started coming in, I felt kinda relieved and so then I started wanting to work harder,” Washington said.
Syracuse coaches certainly noticed as thy visited him twice.
Last season he had 15 sacks and an average of 6 tackles per game. Washington can help out a Syracuse team whose defense was the strong suit of the team last year. The Orange lost several key players, including Doug Hogue (Detroit Lions) and Derell Smith. He can also help replace Des Mikhail Marinovich and Chandler Jones after they graduate.
Washington prides himself on his pass rushing abilities but wants to improve his ability to stop the run.
He plans to make a trip to the Syracuse campus sometime next week.
“I‘m pretty sure I’ll fall in love with the school once I get up there.”