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April 19, 2010

Last chance for Washington

COLUMBUS, Ohio - There was a chance Ohio State senior wide receiver Taurian Washington wasn't going to be around for the Buckeyes for spring football.

Washington, who had deep thoughts of transferring after his junior season last year, instead thought it would be best if he returned to Ohio State for his senior year to finish what he had started.

So it is no wonder Washington mentioned some of the tough times he had when recently asked to sum up the career he has had at Ohio State thus far.

"I went through a lot of adversity," Washington said, "but at the same time, it's been good and bad things on both ends."

Right now it looks as if Jim Tressel and his staff are happy he remained a Buckeye - especially because sophomore wide receiver Duron Carter, the team's No. 3 receiver from last year, currently isn't with the team during spring camp because of reported academic issues.

But it is up to Washington to make sure that carries over into the fall.

Washington, who has been working as the No. 3 receiver since the beginning of spring football, has made a habit of making the most of his time during each of the last three spring practice sessions.

Because most of the time he has spent in the spotlight during his career at Ohio State has been during the spring, 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.

This spring Washington feels as if he is up to the challenge again. This time, though, it is the last chance he will have to become an impact player at wide receiver for the Buckeyes.

"I'm very energized," he said. "It's not the first time I've been out there in the spring running out there with the first group. So just basically you're trying to maintain and do as much as possible to help out our team and get Terrelle better and get myself better."

Washington's success during the regular season has been limited since he hauled in a 37-yard touchdown pass against Youngstown State in 2007 in his first game in college. Since then, though, Washington has only caught two passes.

Last season Washington started the season in the position he is currently trying to earn, but a few dropped passes against Navy in the season-opener resulted in a fall on the depth chart that he was unable to overcome last year.

Washington played in the Rose Bowl in replacement of Carter and reportedly had a positive few weeks of practice in bowl preparation. Wide receiver head coach Darrell Hazell has noticed that carry over into the spring, which isn't unusual for Washington during this time of the year.

"He's done a good job the first couple weeks here and we need him to keep getting better each week," Hazell said. "He's playing with a little it more power and he has been little bit more consistent and he's smart enough to get himself in the right places."

Washington currently sits behind starters DeVier Posey and Dane Sanzenbacher on the depth chart, but the Buckeyes are less than a week from the annual spring game, which takes place this Saturday in Ohio Stadium.

This is where Washington has felt most comfortable and he has the chance yet again to stand out to the coaching staff. Washington ha struggled at times this spring with dropping passes, which he has acknowledged, but he is still hoping to gain the coaching staff's trust.

The first step is now, he realizes, and it's his last chance.

"Just like every year, I've been working hard," Washington said. "Basically just trying to help out my teammates and do the best I can do."

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


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