The transition from high school competition to the college game is a difficult one for any football recruit.
For Jacory Washington, that transition has a more challenging curve.
The Rivals four-star recruit and ESPN watchlist member began making the move from wide receiver to tight end toward the end of his junior season, and now LSU is looking for him to man the position in a few years.
Washington, a class of 2014 recruit out of Westlake High School in Westlake, La., will be joining the Tigers in two years after committing to the program in January, but he’ll have some bulking up to do if he wants to live up to LSU’s expectations.
“The players [in the Southeastern Conference] are bigger, they’re faster and they’re stronger,” said Shawn Demeritt, Washington’s coach at Westlake. “There’s a learning curve for every kid. That’s just part of it. There’s going to be a little different curve for him because he’s traditionally played wideout, and he’s going to have to learn to block defensive ends like Florida and Alabama have.”
Throughout most of his career, Washington has found himself lining up against opposing defensive backs as a wide receiver.
“He’s just kind of grown into a tight end body,” Demeritt said. “The last two games of the year, he started playing a little more tight end and started putting his hand down and started playing on the ball. He had 35 catches and seven touchdowns [as a wide receiver and tight end], and he’s going to be in a very similar situation next year.”
To properly make the transition to an SEC-caliber tight end, Washington will have to pack on the pounds. Washington currently stands at roughly 220 pounds. For comparison, two of the top receiving tight ends in the SEC last season, Florida’s Jordan Reed and Tennessee’s Mychal Rivera, weighed in at 243 and 244 pounds, respectively.
Demeritt said he doesn’t expect the recruit to grow much taller, but he is looking for the receiver to tilt the scale in the coming years.
“He’s mainly going to grow in terms of weight from here on out,” Demeritt said. “I’m expecting him to be at about 228 [pounds] by next season. When he gets to college, I expect him to be around 235 [pounds]. With all the weight training and nutrition programs they have [at LSU], he could easily weigh in at around 245 pounds his freshman year.”
That bodes well for the Tigers, and Washington appears to have the proper attitude to complete the transformation.
Demeritt said Washington is easily coached, as the recruit also excels at basketball and is a member of the Westlake track team.
The Westlake coach boasted about the recruit’s personality, noting that Washington is the perfect person to take the next big step to the college level after his senior season.
“He’s a pretty laidback type of guy,” Demeritt said.