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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

May 24, 2011 at 10:09 AM

Spotlight on Darien Washington

It’s not uncommon that when out-of-state players commit at this time of year, not a lot is known about them.

Such was the case with defensive back Darien Washington of Orange (Calif.) Lutheran High, whose commitment to Washington became public late last week. Washington isn’t a real high-profile player, unrated as yet by any of the major recruiting services (due basically to the fact that since he’s a junior, the services simply haven’t given him a grade yet).

But Orange Lutheran coach Jim Kunau says there’s no question the Huskies are getting a good player.

Kunau said UW was Washington’s first offer, and so far his only one, but that “I think he would have gotten others, but basically we kind of told the other guys that he fell in love with Washington and that he was committing there, so that was going to be that.”

Washington visited UW for the spring game, and Kunau says he committed shortly after, though news apparently didn’t get out for a week or so.

There are some varying reports out there on Washington’s height and weight, but Kunau says he’s closer to the 5-11, 175 listing. He also said that the Huskies are looking at Washington to play safety, particularly free safety.

“That’s what he plays well,” Kunau said. “That’s his primary position.” There’s been speculation Washington could also be tried at corner, and Kunau said “you never know, but he’s an awfully good free safety.”

Washington earned All-Trinity League first team honors last year despite missing a few games early in the year to recover from laburm surgery.
He plays almost solely safety and special teams for Orange Lutheran.

“Like any athletes who are going to be recruited at that level, he obviously possesses some speed and some athleticism. He has good change of direction,” Kunau said. “But the two things I think he has that are really important to play at the next level are; one, he is an extremely aggressive tackler; and two, he’s got good ball skills.”

Orange Lutheran has sent a number of players to colleges through the years (including former Boise State WR Austin Pettis). It was one of those alums already at UW, linebacker Garret Gilliland, that Kunau said was particularly influential in steering Washington to, well, Washington. The two played together at Orange Lutheran in 2009.

“He spent time with Garret, and Garret loves it there,” Kunau said. “He’s a great salesperson for that program and for the university because it’s so genuine how strongly he feels about it, and obviously he’s extremely well-respected here in our program. … When you have a former player who is already there and loves the program, that was a big selling point.”

Washington is also a top high jumper and will compete this weekend in the CIF-SS Division 3 Finals, having recently topped 6 feet, 4 inches (a jump you can see here).

Washington is the third player to commit for UW’s Class of 2012, joining Muir High running back Tairen Owens of Pasadena, Calif., and Mercer Island QB Jeff Lindquist.

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