FOOTBALL STANDOUT TAKES SHAPE AT SANTA FE CHRISTIAN

The article below was writtien by Terry Monahan and is featured in the San Diego Union Tribune today. It is located on page B6C.Jon Wallace remembers when Demitri Washington showed up at Santa Fe Christian as a 5-foot-9, 175pound sixth-grader.“He was short and fat,” the football coach said, laughing. “He cried in PE class all the time. “By the time he was in eighth grade he was 6-1, 210. I don’t know what happened.” That little growth spurt was just the start.Now 6-5, 245 pounds, Washington has become one of the most recruited players in the San Diego Section. Colleges from all over the country are interested, including Ivy League schools, Boise State, Cal, Washington State, Stanford, Arizona, the military academies, San Diego State and the rest of the Mountain West. Trouble is, there is still a lot of debate over which position he should play in college. Washington seems perfectly suited to play defensive end. Two former NFL players on the Eagles coaching staff agree. But some coaches think he could play linebacker. Wallace could see him as a tight end. This year he’s also playing slotback on offense.In the fourth game of the season, against Santa Barbara Bishop Diego, Washington was moved to an old position when the starting quarterback, who had stepped in after the original QB contacted mononucleosis, went down with a concussion. Washington had not played quarterback since freshman year when he was a defensive end and QB. “I’m a football player,” Washington said when asked what position he prefers. “I want to be a defensive end in college. I’ve always loved that position. “I love being in the trenches with really big people. You have to find away to compete, no matter how much bigger they are. “It’s a speed thing. I have to use my speed and my hands. If they can’t touch you, big guys can’t move you around.”Washington was 5 of 11 passing for 99 yards and an interception running the wing-T attack against Bishop Diego. He also rushed eight times for 112 yards and a TD. In last week’s game, a 30-7 win over Christian, Washington was 4 of 5 passing for 88 yards and a TD. He rushed eight times for 18 yards and another TD. “I know Santa Fe Christian has never seen a quarterback like me before,” Washington said, smirking. “I relied on the guys in the huddle to call plays that first game. There was a lot of adversity thrown at us. You have to deal with it. “I’ll be a QB for at least another week. Hopefully, it all goes well.”The Eagles are trying to get going after a 2-3 start to the season.Washington seemed stunned that he’s now halfway through his senior year, his final season as an Eagle. After one more basketball season, he’ll be off to college next fall.“I worked really hard in the classroom my whole life,” Washington said. “I’m looking for the one college that’s a perfect fit for me and I don’t care if it’s on the West Coast or the East Coast or where it is. “I’m looking for a family atmosphere like the one we have here at Santa Fe Christian. I love this school.“This is crazy tome. This is my last year here, my last year in my house.’’ Washington has suffered over the years as a New York Jets fan.“My dad is a Giants fan and I wanted to have a different team to cheer for, so I picked the Jets,” he said. “Trust me, it’s tough being a Jets fan. It can be really tough being a Jets fan.” His favorite player used to be quarterback Peyton Manning, who is now retired after a Hall of Fame career.Now he likes to watch Denver linebacker Von Miller. “Those guys are ultimate team guys,” Washington said. “That’s how you have to play. You can’t win a game all by yourself. You need your teammates alongside you. “I love the mano-a-mano with the biggest guys on the field.”That includes Washington as one of the largest.Monahan is a freelance writer.

by Brad Sandusky