March 3, 2010

Washington hopes to go out with bang

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Former Oho State wide receiver Lamaar Thomas wasn't the only member of the Buckeye receiving corps from last year that was thinking about transferring to another school in pursuit of more playing time.

But as it turns out, he was the only one who went through with it.

There was a time that Taurian Washington thought he had played his last down for the Buckeyes, too, but after sitting down and thoroughly thinking about it following the Rose Bowl win, the receiver decided to finish what he started in Columbus.

"It was kind of tough. I made basically a big decision," Washington said. "I just decided to stay because I already know the playbook and things of that nature and I created a lot of friends here. A lot of my decision-making (thought process) was out of frustration, so I just decided to stay.

"After the season sitting down and having a little time I was thinking about it," Washington added. "It made me realize that I was a little frustrated and it really didn't make sense to transfer and basically sit out a year and not play when I can be getting better here and trying to get back on the field."

In the weeks leading into last season Washington was slated as the No. 3 receiver for the Buckeyes behind DeVier Posey and Dane Sanzenbacher, but eventually lost his job to freshman Duron Carter.

Washington got playing time in Ohio State's season-opening win last year against Navy, but dropped a few passes, which he later described as a lack of concentration.

From that point on, Washington seemed like an afterthought for the remainder of the season. This, in turn, led to frustration for the junior.

In the decision to return for his senior season, though, Washington has yet another chance to crack the receiver rotation this season.

"I am just hoping that I do get that chance again and I am just continuing to work hard and I am praying for that spot," Washington said. "(Last year) from my understanding it was just a couple drops and I guess they felt like I wasn't ready yet to basically produce for the team but I am working on that and planning on doing a better job this year."

Washington has found his way into the spotlight quite a bit during his career at Ohio State, but that spotlight has always shined during spring ball. He has become known, if you will, as a "spring warrior."

In the 2008 spring game, Washington was the leading receiver for the Gray Team, pulling down four catches for 71 yards which included a 51-yard touchdown strike from current reserve quarterback Joe Bauserman.

In last season's spring game Washington struck again when he caught a 44-yard touchdown pass from starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor en route to leading the Gray Team in receiving for the second consecutive season. In the 2009 game Washington led his team with four receptions for 92 yards.

Washington is hoping his success will continue when this year's spring ball starts on April 1. After all, Washington realizes a big spring is the first step to playing time in the fall.

"Every year I never want to overlook spring ball," Washington said. "Spring ball is basically there to fire us up to get ready for our camp and get ready for the season. I am excited for the spring."

Washington cited a lack of concentration as the root of some of his issues last year, which possibly led to some of the drops against Navy. In his final year, Washington plans on improving on his mental part of his game as much as the physical.

"I think I had a lack of concentration in the first game where I had my couple drops and basically working on that to make sure that doesn't ever happen again," Washington said.

Just months after coming off a season that was filled with frustration, Washington said he is really looking forward to getting himself ready to try and crack the receiving rotation.

"I am excited about next year. This is my last year and if I do get the opportunity again I just plan on showing everybody what I can do," Washington said. "Another year of hard work, hustling, grinding and doing the little stuff."

Ari Wasserman is a staff writer for BuckeyeGrove.com. He can be reached at Ari@BuckeyeGrove.com.

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