October 26, 2011

Film Vault: Breaking down Adolphus Washington

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Adolphus Washington and his Cincinnati (Ohio) Taft squad got a huge win over Western Hills on Saturday night, beating the Mustangs 62-35 and keeping playoff hopes alive. Washington once again showed his versatility by lining up at tight end, wide receiver, full back, defensive end, defensive tackle, and kicker throughout the game and he was able to make key plays at many of those positions.

Though slowed a bit by a quad injury suffered early in the game (on the reception in the video clip) Washington still finished with half a dozen tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble. Washington also had key blocks from his fullback position on a couple of touchdown runs by running back Dequon Smith. Washington played most of the game out of position at defensive tackle as Taft tried to slow down the power running game of Western Hills.

Though playing at defensive tackle limited Washington's ability to show off his athleticism and to make plays from sideline-to-sideline, he still showed flashes of that freakish athleticism in the limited snaps he got at his more natural defensive end spot. One thing that playing inside showed us is that Washington still needs to work on leverage and using his hands more effectively, particularly against the run. Washington also needs to get stronger in his upper body and once his upper body strength catches up to his lower body strength, he will be nearly impossible to handle.

This is the third time that I've seen Washington play this season and while he was more productive in the first two outings, he still made some game changing plays in this one, including a forced fumble on a kickoff return.

There is no denying Washington's physical ability, his ceiling is probably higher than any prospect in Ohio in the 2012 class and as he adds some strength and improves technique he has a chance to be an absolute force at the next level. The most exciting thing about Washington as a prospect is how little he has really focused on football and even more specifically on the defensive end position. Washington has dedicated his summers growing up to basketball and was a linebacker/running back until his sophomore season at Taft. The sky is the limit when talking about Washington's potential as a weak-side pass rusher.


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