Even more surprising: all of UNC's in-state verbal commitments are rated as three stars by Scout.com, except Washington. Meredith is UNC's lone verbal commitment from South Carolina.
“It’s a great honor,” Washington said. “Not many people get to make it to that game. I just feel honored and blessed that I actually got selected. I didn’t think I performed well enough to be selected at the [Shrine Bowl] Combine.”
Despite his disappointment in his Shrine Bowl Combine performance, Washington’s numbers were solid – a 4.56-second 40-yard dash, 4.69-second 20-yard shuttle, 33-inch vertical jump, and 10 reps of 185 pounds at 5-foot-11 and 175 pounds.
Regardless, Washington began his senior football season with a bang scoring ten all-purpose touchdowns and accumulating 753 yards in four games for Kannapolis (N.C.) Brown before a knee injury sidelined him.
“I guess [the North Carolina Shrine Bowl Coaches] liked what I did in my first few games and they knew I was eventually going to come back [from the injury],” Washington said.
Speaking of his knee injury, which was a torn meniscus that required surgery, Washington has returned to practice. He will see his doctor on Thursday and if he’s cleared, he’ll play Friday against Harrisburg (N.C.) Hickory Ridge.
Washington primarily plays running back for Brown, but is listed as a wide receiver on the Shrine Bowl Roster. Wide receiver is also the position UNC projects him to play on the collegiate level, although he’s technically being recruited as an athlete.
“I have no idea where I’ll play or how I’ll be used [in the Shrine Bowl],” Washington said. “I’m just going to play wherever they tell me to play and do it to the best of my ability and help beat the South Carolina team.”
Meredith, on the other hand, is listed as a tight end, the position he plays for Anderson (S.C.) Hanna and is being recruited as by UNC.
Although Meredith and Washington are the lone Tar Heel verbal commitments selected, five prospects with UNC scholarship offers have been chosen to play in the game – Todd Gurley, Clemson pledge Germone Hopper, Jamal Marcus, Keilin Rayner, D.J. Reader, and NC State pledge James Summers. Additionally, several other Shrine Bowl selections have received significant interest from UNC, including Jela Duncan, Aaron Krah, Julius Gaines, Tysean Holloway, Jacob Ingle, and Nortavius Otis.
The Shrine Bowl will be played on Dec. 17 at Wofford’s Gibbs Stadium in Spartanburg, S.C.
Damien Washington Profile
Justin Meredith Profile