Over the next 22 days, GatorCountry will preview the players that make up the 2013 Florida Gators football team as we inch closer and closer to the season.
Each day we will count down using the player whose jersey number corresponds with how many days there are left until Florida kicks off against Toledo in the Swamp on August 31.
Today we take a look at two more players, starting with freshman safety Nick Washington.
Nick Washington is a dual-sport athlete from Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Florida. Washington committed to Florida in February of 2012 and not only stayed firm in his commitment, but also helped recruit several other players to join him at Florida.
Washington chose Florida over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Miami, Notre Dame, South Carolina, UCF, Virginia as well as telling MLB scouts not to draft him because of his intention to enroll at Florida.
At 6’3” and 183-pounds, Washington has good size for the position and a frame that looks like it can continue to add another 10-15 pounds. Washington’s biggest asset is his versatility. Washington is athletic and physical enough to play safety, nickel and cornerback.
Washington plays with instincts and has a nose for the ball. He breaks on routes quickly and high-points the football when it’s in the air.
As a tackler, Washington is solid. He closes ground quickly and can bring a thump when he reaches the ball carrier. In the open field, he breaks down well and is a dependable wrap-up tackler.
Washington’s biggest weakness might be that he doesn’t really have a position as of yet. He’s a safety but Florida is loaded at the position. Florida is also deep at cornerback but will have a need at that position after this season. Washington’s versatility could help him but it might also hurt him until he finds a true fit and role in the defense.
What to Expect
Washington is currently competing for playing time at safety. There are some other players ahead of him on the depth chart but he could make an impact for the Gators this season on special teams. Washington’s speed and tackling ability would make him a very good player on kick and punt coverage and it will be a good way for him to get on the field early in his career.