‘Let’s go 110%’: TE Darnell Washington on prioritizing blocking

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

ATHENS - Is the 6-foot-7 ½, 280-pound Darnell Washington an intimidating sight when blocking on the football field?

“I just have the mindset of, let’s go 110%,” Washington answered Wednesday. “If he backs down, he backs down, but I don’t really, I don’t know, I may or may not, not really sure if I intimidate people, I just go and do me.”

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It’s hard to miss Washington, especially when he’s hurdling defenders like it’s nothing (as he did in Georgia’s win vs. Oregon, endearing himself to the internet). Amid a talented tight-end group that includes All-American Brock Bowers and Arik Gilbert, Washington has been praised by Georgia coach Kirby Smart for his athletic ability and growth as a player.

Prioritizing blocking is part of that maturity, as Washington will admit wasn’t a priority for him in high school.

“It for sure took time and kind of maturity,” Washington said. “I just embrace my role. I mean, I’m 6-7 and a half, 280, so like, you can’t catch the ball forever, you know? … It just brought enjoyment. I was just happy. Seeing Zamir (White) or (James) Cook score, and I was, ‘Dang, I know he scored because of my block,’ or things like that. I was just like, let’s do it more often. So I just kind of had that mindset and dominating the run game or blocking.”

So far this season, Washington has tallied five receptions for 81 yards.

He’s got a unique combination of talent, Smart pointed out Tuesday, and has come a long way as a player, now a junior.

“The combination of the athleticism and displacement, there are probably none,” Smart said on whether there are comparisons to Washington. “We had some guys when I was at Alabama, Michael Williams, that were big, more blocking guys, offensive tackle-type guys. He has a receiving skill set that is unique, combined with that size. The best thing about Darnell is that he has been working so hard. You see it usually in Year 3 in guys where you go, ‘Wow, that guy has matured. That guy has practiced. That guy knows how to push himself.’

“And they start thinking if they go hard during the week, the game will be easy. I’ve seen more of that out of Darnell this year, and you are able to see that during the game. He doesn’t get tired, he pushes, and makes plays.”

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