LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Darnell Washington will make his college football decision public at halftime of the Under Armour All-America Game Thursday. The build up for the towering tight end, listed at 6-foot-7, has been among the most memorable in the college football class of 2020.
On Monday, the Las Vegas (Nev.) Desert Pines product not only confirmed plans to announce for the school he silently signed with December 18, but also that he silently verbally committed to a quartet of programs during visits this year.
"Honestly, I silently committed to about four schools," Washington told SI All-American. "'Bama, Tennessee, Georgia and Miami.
"It got so hard. When you're going through the recruiting process you build relationships with every coach that wants you and at some point you have to disappoint a lot of people."
The rigors of navigating the process with some three dozen scholarship offers paired with Washington's desire to see his recruitment end on national television. He was able to make it to that end point as the program he picked agreed not to release his signature news during the Early Signing Period.
"Growing up, watching the all-star games, I always thought it would be cool to announce it at the game," he said. "Going through the process, freshman year I didn't know if I would become that big name. Then sophomore year I started to get invited to lots of things and thought it was possible to get that invite. But I also wanted to sign to get some coaches off my back.
"When they're on you 24-7, it's just a lot. I'd rather do that, keep it on wraps and do what I've wanted to do since I was little. Doing it felt great, took lots of stress off my back. The coaches know."
Washington took official visits to each of the programs he silently committed to, as well as Florida, during the fall. He said he came to a final decision on the tail-end of his trip to Tennessee during the final visit weekend of the year.
"I knew a week or two before signing day, that I was going to sign," Washington said. "Then I knew where I was going to sign about four days before signing day (December 14). I was looking back at who had been there from the start, going back to my sophomore year and who kept it 100.
"I want everything earned, I want to earn my starting spot, I want to earn whatever they give me."
Throughout the massive prospect's recruitment, many have been curious about his future position along with the destination. Some project Washington at tight end, where he has been working throughout UA All-America week, while others bring up offensive tackle or even a spot on the defensive line.
College football programs did the same but there is no doubt the senior wants the football in his hands at the next level.
"Everybody is saying tight end," he said of his finalists. "USC was saying D-end, some schools were saying D-end, but most schools said tight end. The school I chose said tight end and that's what I want to play, tight end.
"I'm at 265 (pounds) right now and I'm going to cut it down more."
The 2020 Under Armour All-America Game will take place Thursday, January 2 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. The game, which will also feature six additional prospect announcements, will be nationally televised by ESPN2 at 6:00 p.m. ET.