How can defenses stop Georgia tight end Darnell Washington?
The short answer is they can't.
Washington came to Georgia Football at a mind-boggling 6-foot-8 and 260 pounds, drawing comparisons to LeBron James as far as size.
Georgia used Washington mostly as a blocking tight end early last season, which wasn't what he was known for in high school. But he was fast learner and clearly knew how to use his massive frame in the running game. The playing time he earned as a blocker opened up opportunities for him to catch more passes later in the year.
Offensive coordinator Todd Monken started featuring Washington in formations with him lined up near the sidelines and in the slot. After catching just two passes for 59 yards through the first five games of the season, Washington caught five passes for 107 yards in Georgia's last two games.
His season average was a whopping 23.7 yards per catch.
What makes those numbers even more shocking is that Washington has bulked up to 280 pounds. Washington is a giant among men. There are very few defenders who can cover a guy of his size. Corners and safeties are typically too small to compete with him one-on-one. Linebackers usually aren't skilled or fast enough in coverage.
Washington has even gotten faster during the offseason. His 51-yard reception during the G-Day game was a remarkable display of both his physicality and his speed. He outran cornerback Lovasea Carroll to make an easy catch before trucking safety Dan Jackson. Washington then sprinted another 22 yards in three seconds while carrying defensive back Javon Bullard for about 10 of those yards.
Washington polished his game by improving his route-running. As he improved in this department, his ability to gain separation throughout his routes increased. He's also worked on his balance to maximize his yards after the catch.
Pairing these traits with Monken's clear plan to feature tight ends in the passing game, and it's hard to to see any way that Washington does not have a big year in 2021.
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