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October 19, 2011Rivals100 defensive end Adolphus Washington has narrowed his college choices down to three, and Michigan State is among them, according to his high school coach, Cincinnati Taft's Mike Martin.
Washington had an official visit to Michigan State for the weekend of the Michigan game. It was the first official visit for Washington, whom Rivals.com ranks No. 74 in the nation, No. 5 in Ohio and No. 8 nationally at weakside defensive end.
"Right now he has three schools that he has narrowed it down to: Michigan State, Ohio State and Alabama," Martin said.
The visit to East Lansing kept the Spartans squarely in the hunt for one of the nation's top edge rushers.
"He said he enjoyed it, it went well," Martin said. "He said the players and the coaches seemed like they were very cool, easy to get along with. He said he liked the environment."
Washington attended Michigan State's 28-14 victory over Michigan. The Spartans had seven sacks on the day while wearing Nike Pro Combat uniforms.
"He said the game, with that being a big rivalry game, a big in-state game, he liked the atmosphere," Martin said. "He just said he enjoyed it, he really enjoyed it."
Martin is the top pass rusher in southern Ohio.
"He has 22 sacks in seven games," Martin said. "That's eye-opening. He should have had nine sacks, in our last game. He took the wrong angle on a couple of them and ended up with six."
When asked who Washington reminds him of, Coach Martin thought long and hard before coming up with Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowler and former Troy State standout DeMarcus Ware.
"He plays like DeMarcus Ware," Martin said. "He can stand up and play that way. But when he goes after the quarterback, he can really go after the quarterback. He comes off and he is so strong, especially his lower body - he knows he has to get stronger in his upper body - but his lower body is so strong that he pushes linemen back and everybody into the quarterback. He is quick off the ball, strong, aggressive and he runs from one sideline to the other."
Washington is in the process of rescheduling a visit to Alabama that was originally scheduled for this weekend. He will visit Ohio State the weekend of Oct. 29.
"He hasn't scheduled the Alabama visit yet," Martin said. "I know he is making an announcement on where he is going on Nov. 9. They are having a special assembly here at our school because he, Dwayne Stanford and myself are participating in the U.S. Army All-Star game, and they are doing a special presentation. They both said they want to know by then."
Alabama's primary recruiter for Washington is former Spartan assistant coach Sal Sunseri. Sunseri's biggest recruiting victory during his short time at Michigan State was being the primary recruiter for former Spartan quarterback Jeff Smoker, as well as former Spartan kicker Dave Rayner.
When asked what Washington says he likes about Alabama at this point, Washington said: "The guy that recruited him (Sunseri) did an excellent job of recruiting, and he likes his honesty. Every time they got an opportunity to talk he pretty told him, 'Hey this is what we do, this is what we're got, I've been coaching this amount of years, I have this many kids in the pros.'
"Trying to make a decision is tough because he (Washington) is one of those kind of guys that doesn't want to hurt anybody's feelings, so I have to do all the dirty work to tell schools he is not interested.
"I told him, if they weren't interested in you, they would tell you, so you've got to let them know if you're not interested in them.
"He said, 'Coach Martin, I just can't do that. I don't want to hurt nobody's feelings. I feel like I'll seem like I'm a bad guy if I tell them.' I said that doesn't make you a bad guy. That's part of the process. You are going to learn that as you get older, if you're not playing on Sundays and you try to get a job and they tell you that you're not what they're looking for, you're going to learn it.'"
Oregon was most recently stricken from the list. He was scheduled to visit Oregon this weekend.
Ohio State is regarded by some as the leader, as was the case for Se'Von Pittman before he committed to the Spartans as a Top 100 defensive end during the summer.
Did Washington grow up a Buckeye fan?
"I'm not sure," Martin said. "He never did say that. As far as I know he's open, been pretty open with everything."
Ohio State's coaching situation is a factor. Head coach Luke Fickell is in his first year replacing Jim Tressel. The Buckeyes lost three games in the first half of the season, including a 10-7 loss to Michigan State. Martin indicated that Washington is aware that a coaching change is a possibility at Ohio State.
"I think unless something comes up before this year is over, they think that a lot of things may take place before he goes there, if he happens to go there," Martin said. "I don't think they (Ohio State) are too concerned about it."
Michigan State defensive backs coach Harlon Barnett, a native of the Cincinnati area, is Michigan State's primary recruiter for Washington.
"He likes that he (Washington) is a very respectful, humble young man," Martin said. "He really seems down to earth. They like the fact that he is very respectful.
"(Washington) knows that if he applies himself he can get a good education anywhere he goes. He is looking for the opportunity to play early, along with the opportunity to have - if football doesn't work out - to find a good job and get a lot of support from alums."
Washington and his Cincinnati Taft teammates will be back in action this weekend with a 5-3 record, needing a win to clinch a three-way tie for a league title and a probable berth in the state playoffs.
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