In a strange and questionable turn of events Saturday, four-star running back Robert Washington (Huntersville, NC) announced his commitment to the Florida Gators in an exclusive Bleacher Report video only to turn around 15 minutes later and commit to Syracuse at a scheduled announcement ceremony.
Washington (5-foot-11, 200 pounds), ranked No. 239 overall in the 247Sports Composite, was choosing between Alabama, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Syracuse and TCU. He either has not made up his mind or pulled a fast one on Florida.
During the commitment video pre-taped with Bleacher Report, Washington lauds the staff and situation at Florida but speaks only of great fan interest at Syracuse.
Florida: “Coach [Tim] Skip[per] and his staff are amazing. When you’re a new staff coming to a new school and being in the state of Florida with as many prospects and as many recruits as they have down there, for them to make me a priority on they list is pretty amazing. I have connections with Will Grier, the quarterback at Florida currently – I used to go over his house all the time, so I had to put the Gators in there.”
Syracuse: “It’s been fun getting recruited by Cuse. The Cuse Twitter army creating all the pitches, all the diagrams, being in the No. 44 jersey has been fun. Cuse been knowing me since ninth grade, so they’ve been knowing me over the years. So that’s why I put Cuse in there.”
Later in the video, Washington commits to the Gators.
“I will like to make my commitment to the University of Florida. I’m going to be a Gator,” he said. “I think it’s a great opportunity. It’s just an amazing program. Gainesville’s a beautiful place. Coach Skip is amazing, the staff has been pretty amazing. … Thank you for the Gator fans, the Gator community, everybody down there for supporting me. …
“I’ll be joining you soon, Willy G. Will’s been like a big brother to me. I grew up watching Will from seventh grade when he was in the varsity squad. I went over his house; I watched him go through the recruiting process from the Army game to everything. It’s been pretty amazing> he showed me the ropes, showed me many things, and he is going to be the starting quarterback this year. I believe that because he’s a great player and besides him being a great player, he’s a great person. It’s going to be fun definitely playing in Gainesville.”
According to 247 Sports‘s Thomas Goldkamp, Washington has never visited the University of Florida campus, and a lack of communication with the coaching staff made the Gators feel they did not have a chance to earn his commitment at this time. As such, his initial commitment (which changed just minutes later) was a shocker.
During his junior season at SouthLake Christian High School, Washington rushed for 2,233 yards and 27 touchdowns; he now has 5,762 yards and 66 rushing scores in his three-year high school career. According to the Gaston Gazette, Washington will transfer to East Gaston High School next season and hopes to graduate after the fall semester in order to enroll early in college.
For now, at least, he will be doing that at Syracuse.
“I did the report on Thursday,” Washington told Syracuse.com, which notes that nothing changed with Florida or Syracuse in the following two days. “I had my mind set for the report, but I changed my mind the next day to Syracuse. … I was just thinking about it on the way down [to my commitment ceremony]. I was praying and praying and thinking and I let God reach me.”