“I’m not exactly sure what the tight end was trying to do, but he just went away,” Washington said. “I saw that they pinched it up, so I had contain. When I saw him bounce it outside, I knew I had to find another gear and chase him down.”
Defensive is where Washington’s heart lies, but he’s willing to do whatever the coaches ask of him to help the team.
“I feel like it fits me better to play offense,” Washington said. “I like playing offense, but I think defense is more my thing. I like the guys on that side of the ball. It’s like a family over there. I like being able to go where the coaches need me and give it my best. I might have to play center, you never know. Whatever you do, I just want to contribute to the team.”
Nederland head coach Larry Neumann echoes that sentiment about Washington’s makeup being just as important as his talents on the field.
“He’s a big time player,” Neumann said. “He’s academically motivated. He’s well spoken. He’s got character and is a nice kid. He’s got all the intangibles. If he stays healthy the next two years, he can go (to college) anywhere he wants to go. He’s got the size, and he can move.”
Washington comes from a long line of successful athletes from the area. His grandfather, Paul Washington, played for the Kansas City Chiefs. His father, Paul, played basketball at TJ. His grandfather was “Big Paul”, because he was about 6-foot-7 and about 300 pounds, while “Little Paul” was only 6-foot-5 and 245.
“When I was younger, I had a little bit of a weight problem, so I couldn’t play junior league,” De Shawn said. “Around sixth grade, I started to eat right and help myself. When I was in seventh grade, I really wanted to show people I could play. I always looked up to my grandpa, thinking that I could do what he did one day, so I’ve tried to keep my head on straight.”