Four-star RB Robert Washington picks Florida on video, commits to Syracuse at ceremony

By Adam Silverstein
April 25, 2015

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, 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.”


  1. Dave massey says:

    This has got to rank in the top ten of you think you are more important than you are. Enjoy going to irrelevant since the 1970’s U

    • jimmyjohns says:

      Don’t be too hard on him. My guess on what happened is this – Kid got offered and recruited hard by the old staff. New staff has not had much contact with him and was not expecting him to commit (as Adam pointed out). When they got news that he did commit they probably let him know in a very polite/PC way that it wasn’t the right time. I’m sure they told him they wanted him to come to FNL, compete, visit campus, etc., but to hold off making any decisions. Instead, he popped for Cuse. If the staff wants him, I bet we can get him back later on.

      • Dave Massey says:

        I think you have made a bunch of baseless assumptions and incorrect guesses.

        • jimmyjohns says:

          Most of what I put has already been shown to be fact, and the assumptions I did make are certainly not baseless. He was offered and recruited by the old staff. This staff has not had much contact with him and did not expect his commitment. And, he has never set foot on campus. That much was reported even before he announced. The rest of it is speculation, but I used what we know to come up with it. We have not been recruiting him very hard, which tells me the staff isn’t in love with him. We already have 1 RB commit and will probably take 1 more. If he was our top target and the guy we wanted for that slot, wouldn’t we be beating down his door knowing he was committing early? He plays at a tiny school in NC and his competition is poor, which is why I mentioned FNL. Previous staffs have done the same thing, telling kids they want to see them in person before they can commit. He also talks about how he loves UF and Will Grier. Then, he suddenly changes his mind and goes to Syracuse, a down-and-out program far from home. Now, he may have truly fallen in love with them, had an epiphany, or whatever. But, I also know that there are a ton of things that go on behind the scenes in recruiting that we never hear about, and this kind of thing happens all the time.

          • Dave Massey says:

            The words out of Washington’s mouth were that Skipper and the current staff were amazing and Florida is a great opportunity and is an amazing program. He said that Florida made him a priority. He said he has connections with Grier and he is like a big brother. He didn’t even mention the previous staff.

            The comment about lack of communication didn’t come from Washington and could be construed as that Washington hadn’t been communicating with Florida, not the other way around. Due to that Florida didn’t feel like they had a chance to earn his commitment, at this time, and was pleasantly surprised when they thought they got it. How you go from that to Floriida not being in love with him and not wanting to make a commitment now is beyond me. I don’t remember anybody saying that Florida has pulled a scholarship offer to him.

            Like I said, freaky fast baseless assumptions and guesses.

            God told him to go to a school with an irrelevant football program where the disgraced basketball program is first priority over programs like Florida, Alabama, Michigan, TCU….

            Florida would gladly accept a commit from a 4*, top 250 recruit, especially considering they only have 8 current commits an And are thin at running back.

            Most likely this guy is just playing childish games.

      • Michael Jones says:

        I have to agree with Massey on this one. The kid’s one more wishy washy flake who hasn’t done anything yet but is already acting like a prima donna whose word means nothing. Doesn’t make him a serial killer but by the same token I don’t agree with the questionable rationalizations and justifications for his behavior. Personally, there are other kids who want to play for UF who don’t act like that, and those are the ones I would rather see wearing our colors and those are the ones I would rather cheer for on Saturdays.

        Go Gators!!

  2. 1974Gator says:

    Not to make excuses for this kid but the reality is he’s a 17 year old baby duck. Vise is a down program in an average conference. We play in the SEC. Enough said.

  3. 1974Gator says:

    Vise = Cuse

  4. Alex says:

    This is why following recruiting is pointless; it will get worse and worse as each year passes.

    Stop covering these irrelevant 17 year old kids and the BS will disappear

  5. KarVer says:

    Mind games! Even as a teen I knew mostly what I wanted. Decision isnt hard, cuse or Gators, pick gators if you wish to improve, an play real conference football. 17 yo Washington I wouldn’t wish you to change your mind again. Go play with pop warner an be a wash out.