University of Miami

He’s South Dade’s ‘Draymond Green.’ Could he be the Miami Hurricanes’ future striker?

UM coach Manny Diaz comments on spring game

Miami Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz comments on the team after the Miami Hurricanes spring game at Camping World Stadium in Orlando on Saturday, April 20, 2019.
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Miami Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz comments on the team after the Miami Hurricanes spring game at Camping World Stadium in Orlando on Saturday, April 20, 2019.

Although the composite rankings call him a four-star safety, it’s not quite so simple for Keshawn Washington. There were definitely times throughout his junior season when he played safety, but there were also times when he moved inside to play linebacker or moved over toward the sidelines to play cornerback.

“I call him more of a three-dimensional-type player,” Buccaneers coach Nate Hudson said last Tuesday in Homestead. “He’s basically like our Draymond Green. Whatever we need in adjustments, whoever we scheme for — he has the ability to play linebacker, he can play in the slot, he can play corner, he can play either safety and that’s what makes him valuable.”

It’s a job Washington has embraced in his first three seasons at South Dade, which put him on college radars quickly. The 6-foot-2, 177-pound defensive back holds more than a dozen offers and orally committed to the Miami Hurricanes — for a second time — in March.

Miami, Washington said, currently classifies him as a defensive athlete, and safeties coach Ephraim Banda is his primary recruiter. Striker, it would seem, is a natural fit for the rising senior considering the versatile role he plays for the Buccaneers.

“I like it because I can blitz, I can be in the box, make all the tackles,” Washington said of his current role at South Dade. “They like my size, they like how I’m a dog. They like how I come downhill, make tackles like that — open-field tackles.”

The Hurricanes quickly made Washington something of a priority when they hired Manny Diaz as coach at the end of last year. Washington previously pledged to Miami in the summer and decommitted when Diaz left as defensive coordinator for his extremely brief stint as the Temple Owls coach.

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He rejoined the Hurricanes’ Class of 2020 a little more than a month after four-star Buccaneers cornerback Jaiden Francois recommitted in February.

“I love the environment. They treat me like family. They always keep in touch with me, come see me every time. They came by like three times in one week just to come see me and Jaiden.”

While Washington is locked in with Miami, he still hears from other schools, including the Penn State Nittany Lions and Nebraska Cornhuskers. Washington also went up to Tallahassee in April to attend the Florida State Seminoles’ junior day. Although 247Sports reported Washington called Florida State his top choice, Washington reaffirmed his commitment to his hometown team last Tuesday and said he plans to enroll early.

“There’s still schools looking at me. I visited Florida State. It was a good little visit. I liked it, but UM’s still the top school,” Washington said. “I’ve got to get there early, so I can get there and learn the plays.”

For now, class can be Washington’s priority. The local prospect is currently rehabilitating a pair of shoulder injuries — he injured his right labrum as a freshman and had surgery to repair a tear late last year. He tore his left labrum in a win against Northwestern last season and had to repair it in February — which will keep him out for all of spring practice. Washington hasn’t been able to lift weights since the fall, which means the summer will have to be spent bulking back up and preparing for a big senior season in South Florida.

Once he gets back to full strength, Washington has a chance to be a unique player in Coral Gables.

“With his range,” Hudson said, “he’s going to be a little bit different from what we’re accustomed to seeing.”

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