In this installment of The Recruiting Notebook, we meet a rangy defender who will surely elevate the level of athleticism in his position room: Miami (FL) Palmetto 3-star LB Bobby Washington.
One of the most disappointing position groups on the Hurricanes’ roster in recent years has been the linebackers. Clearly knowing upgrades were needed at this position, Mario Cristobal and company turned their attention to Miami (FL) Palmetto LB Bobby Washington.
Well, that’s kind of true. The journey of recruiting Washington (and his twin brother Robby) began when the pair was playing at Miami (FL) Killian HS. That school is their father Bobby’s alma mater. He was a Parade All-American in 2003 before going on to sign with Miami. The elder Washington subsequently transferred to NC State and Eastern Kentucky, but he was a big-time recruit by any metric. And, following in their father’s footsteps, the Washington twins were standout players for Killian from their freshman year.
Though he isn’t the blazing speedster his twin brother Robby is, Bobby is a very fast player for the linebacker position. That speed translated to a few years of strong performances for him at Killian, including a 2nd team All-Dade season for the Cougars. That was during a 12-2 season which included a deep run in the playoffs, so Washington played a large part in Killian’s success that season.
This year at Palmetto, Washington was a dynamic force for the Panthers’ defense. 52 tackles, 15 TFL, 8 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. Every game the Panthers played, Washington’s impact was felt on the defensive side of the ball. And in the case of the Miami Hurricanes, the hope is that impact remains, and grows, as Washington continues to develop as a player.
Just like his twin brother, Bobby was a frequent visitor to Miami’s Coral Gables campus over the years. This was the case when Manny Diaz was the coach, and that continued when Mario Cristobal took over. Bobby was always someone who wanted to play for the Canes, and Washington committed to Miami in March during one of his myriad unofficial visits. Washington, and his twin brother, were among the first players to commit to Miami’s 2023 recruiting class, on the same day no less. But trust me, reader, they were most decidedly not the last.
On the 247sports composite, Washington is a 3-star prospect, the #37 LB nationally, #86 in the State of Florida, and #450 player overall in this class. Author’s note: Washington’s ranking was bumped up to 4-stars after the writing of this piece.
Washington committed to Miami over Auburn, NC State, and UF from a strong list of 25 offers from around the country.
Bobby is a tall and thin linebacker at 6’3” 215lbs. Looking at the lead photo for this piece (go ahead and scroll back up top real quick), I think that 215lbs might be a little bit inflated. I think getting Washington to 220lbs+ will be key for him moving forward, as the added size will be beneficial for him going up against bigger players at this level.
Though he isn’t blessed with the 4.3 speed his brother possesses, Bobby is very fleet afoot, and his speed is one of his biggest assets as a player. He’s probably a low 4.5/4.4 guy, so he can seriously pick ‘em up and put ‘em down. On film he showcases the ability to play as a true sideline to sideline linebacker, with no play being too far away from him to be made.
Washington both is at his best as a space player. Without the physicality to take on linemen or tight ends head up, Washington uses his speed and quickness to get around the field and make plays. He’s a disruptive pass rusher, because most HS OL can’t get a hand on him, let alone block him. Moving forward, rushing or delayed blitzes from the edges of the line will be a very good usage for Washington.
As expected of someone with Washington’s build and speed, he’s very adept at playing coverage. He’s both fast and quick enough (and yes, those are different movement skills) to keep up with RBs and WRs, and tall and lengthy enough to match up with TEs. Washington is fine as run defender, but additional size and strength would be a valued addition for him moving forward to help in that area of his game.
- Physical Build
- Functional strength
- A bit of a ‘tweener between OLB and SS
Washington is an interesting player. His speed makes him a valuable weapon, but he’s a bit smaller than Mario Cristobal would prefer at linebacker. If he’s able to develop his body a bit, while keeping his speed and athleticism, Washington could be a steal of a player for Miami down the line.
While there are other LBs in this class and on this roster who are more of the SEC size and pedigree the Canes might prefer, don’t overlook Washington at all. He’s a high 3-star, borderline 4-star talent with the pedigree and performance to reasonably think he could be a serious player down the line.
If you need someone to “spy” an opposing QB, Washington will be your man. If you need someone to play in space vs the million offenses that run the Baylor Spread (or a version thereof), Washington is a valuable player for that task. His initial value will probably be on special teams, but Washington isn’t just “the other brother” from his family in this recruiting class. He’s a serious player who can have a role on this team. It just might take a couple seasons to get there.
That’s it for this installment of The Recruiting Notebook.