By Adrian Martin
For The Star
Humble beginnings in little league football have helped groom and shape the legacies of many athletes across this nation such as Texas Tech running DeAndre Washington, a Marshall High graduate who will have the opportunity when the Red Raiders (7-5) face LSU (9-3) in the Texas Bowl at 8 p.m. on Dec. 29 at NRG Stadium in Houston.
All Washington ever wanted to do is compete. It started with his days as a South Post Oak Eagle. Washington began playing at an early age and it was almost like second nature. After all, his family was full of football players like his cousin Chance Allen, the former Elkins Knight and current University of Houston wide receiver.
But things took a turn in his life after the deadly Tropical Storm Allison flooded his house, forcing him to move to Missouri City, where he’d call home for several years.
After a few years at middle school, it was time for Washington to face another challenge – Texas high school football. The Houston native would quickly price that the obstacle could be easily surpassed, as was moved up to varsity his sophomore year on a stacked roster of running backs. Then, Washington waited patiently for his turn, being motivated by players on his team like former Kansas City Chiefs running back Knile Davis and former Texas A&M cornerback Toney Hurd Jr move on to the next level. He knew that when his time came, he’d be in a great situation.
“I was always confident that I could play at the next level” Washington said. “ I just feel like I needed a good platform. I felt like Marshall provided that platform. Every year they sent out numerous amount of division one athletes to division one colleges. At the time we had coach (Darryl) Phipps and he came from Eisenhower. The year before that they had like thirteen division one athletes, so I just felt like as long as I could get a good platform, everything else would take care of itself.”
And it did.
A Marshall High standout
Washington would flourish in his first year as a starter, averaging more than seven years a carry. Then, he’d parlay with a magical senior year, in which he rushed for more than 1,300 yards and 15 touchdowns. Washington said his fondest memories from the high school level came from battling Missouri City counterparts Elkins, Hightower and Willowridge.
“In Missouri City, it’s so many schools in that one area, so it’s a lot of the same guys that you probably went to middle school with that are like brothers to you,” Washington said. “It definitely a heated rivalry from football to the marching band and basketball. Everything is a rivalry out there.”
The Red Raider
Making a decision to sign with Texas Tech was surely a tough one. Washington had Arizona, Baylor and Oklahoma State on his mind as well, but his relationship with the Red Raiders’ coaching staff helped ease the process in the end.
So, off to Lubbock he went.
But this time, things wouldn’t be so easy. An ACL tear would hault his freshman year, and he’d spend his sophomore year on a redshirt. He’d spend all of 2012 on a redshirt, only to come back the next season and be a back up. However, it’s tough to hold the great athletes back. Washington would fight his way back to the top of the depth chart to have his breakout year as a junior at Tech. He rushed for 1,103 yards and averaged six yards per carry, becoming the seventh rusher at Texas Tech to run for more than 1,000 yards in a season. It’s safe to say that the guy who’s always been a winner, found a way to succeed despite the curve balls he was dealt.
Several local players are competing in college football bowl games this season. Here’s a list of several players. If we’ve left anyone off the list, please let us know.
Utah vs. BYU, Las Vegas Bowl,
Saturday in Las Vegas
Utah – Jake Kane (Hightower)
UCLA vs. Nebraska, Foster Farms Bowl,
Dec. 26 in Santa Clara, Calif.
UCLA – Deon Hollins (Marshall)
Tulsa vs. Virginia Tech, Independence Bowl
Dec. 26 in Shreveport, La.
Tulsa – Michael Mudoh (Bush)
LSU vs. Texas Tech, Texas Bowl,
Dec. 29 in Houston
LSU – Corey Thompson (Elkins)
Texas Tech – Johnathan Giles (Elkins),
DeAndre Washington (Marshall)
Baylor vs. North Carolina,
Russell Athletic Bowl,
Dec. 29 in Orlando
Baylor – B.J. Jordan (Clements),
Mo Porter (Marshall), Jordan Tolbert
Cal vs. Air Force,
Armed Forces Bowl,
Dec. 29 in Fort Worth
Cal – Vic Enwere (Austin)
Texas A&M vs. Louisville,
Music City Bowl,
Dec. 30 in Nashville
Texas A&M – Mikey Matthews (Elkins),
Taylor Martinez (Travis)
Houston vs. Florida State, Peach Bowl,
Dec. 31 in Atlanta
Houston – Matthew Adams (Hightower), Khalil Williams (Hightower), Joeal Williams (Hightower), Chance Allen (Elkins), Davon Crookshank (Marshall), Josh Burrell (Ridge Point), Logan Piper (Hightower), Tyler White (Marshall), Eric Parker (Hightower), Leroy Godfrey (Elkins), Carter Wall (Travis), Josh Jones (Bush), Melvin Holland (Elkins)
National Semifinal – Alabama vs. Michigan State,
Cotton Bowl, Jan. 1 in Arlington
Alabama – Maurice Smith (Dulles)
Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss,
Jan. 1 in New Orleans
Oklahoma State – Emmanuel
Matthew Newsome (Clements)
TCU vs. Oregon, Alamo Bowl,
Jan. 2 in San Antonio
TCU – Kenny Iloka (Kempner),
Aviante Collins (Willowridge)
Oregon – Bralon Addison (Hightower)