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Commit alert! Rutgers Football gets verbal pledge from WR Isaiah Washington

NCAA Football: Penn State at Rutgers
McNulty and Sitkowski add another target.
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

We are just days away from the Early Signing Period for college football. The Scarlet Knights secured a commitment from Wide Receiver Isaiah Washington from Jacksonville, Florida. He announced today via twitter:

The Trinity Catholic product holds offers from 20 FBS schools per 247sports. Fellow Big Ten school Nebraska was a front runner for his services, as was Duke and Colorado State. At 6’3” and 192 pounds, Washington is a solid three-star prospect, per 247 composite the 178th best player in Florida and 153rd best receiver prospect in the country.

It’s no secret that Rutgers’s biggest weakness is their passing attack. Rutgers has been the worst passing team in the country that was not primarily option running offense the past two seasons. The thought in 2018 was that the crop of freshmen and sophomores would take a significant step forward, but that did not happen whatsoever. A key criticism is that Scarlet Knight receivers cannot defeat press coverage, making it difficult for quarterbacks Giovanni Rescigno and Art Sitkowski to hit for quick completions behind an offensive line that at times struggled to pass protect. The lack of big, strong receivers has been cited as a reason for this so adding someone with the long reach of Isaiah could help in this area.

The first thing that jumps out from the film is that Washington has quite a long stride. Though not quite as tall, once he is running with the ball Isaiah reminds you of Brandon Coleman in that he doesn’t seem to be running that fast but no one is gaining ground from behind. The second and possibly more important thing is that Washington adjusts well in the air, able to win jump balls against two defenders at the high school level. I can hear the late, great Keith Jackson saying over and over, “he goes up and gets it” when watching the film.

Washington is not overly explosive and possibly due to his long arms, defenses did not press him in a lot of the highlights. Big Ten DBs are a lot stronger and if they get up on him, time will tell if Isaiah can keep them off his body and then accelerate to gain separation afterward. Another thing to note is that Washington almost looks more comfortable catching the ball in traffic than when he is open as if he always expects contact.

Washington is at worst a solid three-star prospect who will compete hard in practice and provide depth like Carlton Agudosi in his career. Isaiah most likely will be able to contribute in the wide receiver rotation by his second season like a slightly more highly regarded prospect in Andre Patton. Best case Washington is a difference maker like Mark Harrison early on with the potential to be a star like Brandon Coleman.

I like the pickup because this team needs as many wideouts as possible in the hope that someone emerges. Adding another tall target was on the short list for the staff this offseason.

Washington is only currently committed receiver in this class. The fourteen total verbal commits thus far each have a 3-star rating in the latest 247 composite rankings. After Washington’s commitment, the current class is ranked 66th nationally and 12th in the Big Ten per 247 Sports. Hopefully Rutgers can finish the period strong so they can focus on more specific targets during the normal signing period.

Here are some of Washington’s highlights:

Welcome to the banks Isaiah!