While the inks still wet on the 2009 class of athletes, the rising seniors are in line to have their chance to shine.
Although it is still too early to know who the best player will be, there are a number of players who are already turning heads as sophomores. Possibly the top 2010 prospect in Tennessee, Trinity Academy's Jabriel Washington has had college coaches taking notice.
The 6-foot 165-pound athlete stars on both sides of the ball and has earned All-American honors for his efforts. He had 114 tackles and seven interceptions on defense, and also had 11 rushing touchdowns while throwing for another 17. Washington says schools are recruiting him at multiple positions.
"Tennessee, Georgia, and Oregon are the closest to offering. Tennessee and Oregon like me as a receiver, while Georgia likes me at receiver and a safety," Washington told UGASports.
The state of Tennessee produced one of the most talented wideouts in the nation in Marlon Brown, and Alabama commit Keiwone Malone should continue the trend next year. Washington hopes to follow in their footsteps as one of the state's best.
"I hope I can be that way," he said. "I just try to have a high knowledge of the game while anticipating where the ball should and will go. I feel all the little things matter."
The number one player in 2009, Harding's Brown signed with UGA last week after a long decision process. Could Washington may be next in line?
"Right now Georgia is my favorite school," he said. "But I'm keeping my options open."
The 2011 star may be two years away from graduation, but he already knows what he is looking for as far as college is concerned.
"I want good coaches, and the level of academics is important," Washington said.
Washington will visit schools in the next couple of months, although he has already made the trip to Knoxville recently.
"I plan on attending Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida camps. I went on an unofficial visit to Tennessee to see the new staff," the Jackson native said. "The coaches were welcoming and very energetic."
To be on the brink of being offered as a sophomore has got to be a wonderful feeling. But Washington says he likes to keep a level head with the sudden attention. He also knows his support system is a big reason for his ability to make the correct decision.
"It feels good, as long as I keep working hard, I'll be on the right path. Luckily, my family supports me taking my time, and they know I will choose the right school," he added,"Coach Maxwell has been the key to my recruitment; he has put me out there and I'm grateful for all his help."
Coach Allen Maxwell is very proud of his star player, he had no shortage of praise for one of the top athletes in the state.
"It's truly been a joy to coach Jabriel. He's a hard working, competitive, and intelligent kid. You would never know that he's garnered this much attention because he's so level-headed," Maxwell said. "That can be attributed to his parents Ray and Sonya Washington who's done a good job of raising him."
Maxwell says on the field, he is an extension of the coaching staff. He is able to read the opponents on both sides of the ball, and combined with his physical ability makes him a special talent.
"He has several strengths, but I think it's his knowledge of the game that separates him. I also think his acceleration, COD, and Quickness allows him to be a great prospect at the next level," Maxwell added.
While he has over 23 months to go until he signs, the Trinity Academy coach already knows how to handle the incoming colleges. He said it has been positive so far.
"The process has been great. I've had to handle a lot of the early recruiting that has gone on because he's only a sophomore and it has been a joy," Maxwell said. "I make sure everything runs through him and his parents before I do anything."
All of the colleges come to him first, so he has a bird's eye view of where his star player stands. He gave the early scoop on how it may end as well.
"There have been so many schools that have contacted us about him. I can't even begin to name them all. The offers that I know for a fact that he has are Arkansas, Boston College, and Colorado. There have been several schools that have said that an offer is coming soon or is coming eventually, so we will see what happens," he said. "I have a feeling that it's going to be another one of those SEC East recruiting battles. I think he's going to keep all of his options open early and I think the plan is to have his decision out of the way by his Junior year."
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