University of Miami

He was a four-star recruit before shoulder surgeries, but UM still excited by this local DB

It wasn’t so long ago just about everyone had their eyes on Keshawn Washington. The South Dade safety was pegged by college coaches across the country as one of Miami-Dade County’s rising stars when he was an underclassman, and the Syracuse Orange, Georgia Bulldogs and Nebraska Cornhuskers all offered him early, along with the Miami Hurricanes.

Not long after he committed to his hometown team for the first time in 2018, Washington rose to four-star status in the 247Sports.com rankings. With his versatile skill set, Washington was an early defensive centerpiece to Miami’s Class of 2020, capable of potentially playing about three or four positions when he finally arrived in Coral Gables. Nate Hudson even likened Washington to Draymond Green.

“He’s basically like our Draymond Green,” the Buccaneers coach said in May. “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.”

His junior season didn’t go exactly to plan, though, and neither did the summer ahead of his senior season. He played through shoulder injuries in 2018 after he injured his right labrum as a freshman in 2016 and tore his left labrum in the middle of his junior season. Soon after South Dade’s season ended, Washington had surgeries on both, which kept him out of spring practice, and prevented him from participating at any camps throughout the spring and summer.

Now a three-star safety in the 247Sports composite rankings, Washington finally returned to the field last month when the Buccaneers began their training camp and he has been a key cog in a perfect start to the season in Homestead. While he primarily plays as South Dade’s rover safety, Washington lined up at cornerback Thursday in a 35-32 win against Norland at Harris Field Park with the Buccaneers short-handed in the secondary.

“The DBs, we switch, we rotate because we can play everything,” Washington said. “It’s good. It’s easy. The coverage is easy. Cover 3’s easy. Man’s easy because I’m a dog. I don’t let nobody disrespect me.”

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Safeties coach Ephraim Banda spent the wet night on the sidelines watching Washington cover and stopped by South Dade earlier in the day to meet with Washington, four-star cornerback Jaiden Francois and three-star outside linebacker Tyler Johnson, a Class of 2021 prospect. All three are orally committed to the Hurricanes.

Although Washington and Francois both decommitted once when Manny Diaz briefly left to coach the Temple Owls, both committed back to Miami earlier this year after Diaz returned to coach the Hurricanes.

Washington’s injuries haven’t scared Miami away. Washington last weighed himself at 178 pounds, but his upper body is noticeably bigger compared to the summer when he had been unable to lift weights for about six months.

The Hurricanes have long pitched Washington, who was once classified by recruiting services as an outside linebacker, on being a defensive athlete and the 6-foot-2 defensive back feels he’s a perfect fit in Miami’s scheme. The rover position he plays for the Buccaneers is similar to the rover position on the Hurricanes’ defense. It could the logical fit for Washington at Miami, but he said Banda right now likes him as an option at either safety spot.

“He’s happy that I’m back on the field. He told me come to ‘the U.’ They’re going to get me bigger and show me the way back,” Washington said. “We had a one-on-one talk. He said stay loyal and come check out the school.”

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