His father, Paul, didn’t play football in high school, because his grandmother wouldn’t let him. De Shawn says Dr. Patricia Patterson, who is a pediatrician in Port Arthur, still worries about him during games.
“My dad really liked playing basketball, but my grandma wouldn’t let him play football,” De Shawn said. “I’m just excited she lets me play. She’s really protective, but I love it. She’s been there for every game. She’s learned to accept that if I hurt my ankle, I’m fine. She likes to go up on the railing and yell at me to make sure I’m okay.”
The transition to tackle has happened abruptly, as the Bulldogs have experimented with ways to bolster their depth at different spots. With his versatility, Washington gives the Bulldogs a number of options, like moving him over to tackle as starter Dannis Latiolais misses time with a concussion.
“He’s a multi-purpose guy,” Neumann said. “We’d rather he not have to play both ways. When Dannis gets back, he’ll move back over to defense. He gives us great depth, though. If we have someone going down at guard, we can do some things, because we have a guy who can come in and be productive. That’s big.”
What should be scary for opposing teams is that Washington is still tapping into his full potential as a player, and he’s doing it with a smile on his face.
“De Shawn doesn’t know yet what De Shawn has,” Crommett said. “He doesn’t know how good he could be. He’s changed a little bit, but most times, he’s got a big smile on his face. I coached his dad, and he always had a smile. I told De Shawn that one day, you’re going to wipe that smile off and when you do, shame on the guy across from you.”