2016 RB's offer list nearing 40

Robert Washington has a whopping 33 offers to his credit after a sensational sophomore campaign. The 5-foot-10, 210-pound (class of 2016) running back from SouthLake Christian Academy near Charlotte, N.C. tells VandyMania.com he's made two visits to Nashville to get to know the Commodore staff better.

Vanderbilt will have steep competition all-around as Washington has offers SEC offers from Florida, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and Tennessee, along with most of the other traditional powerhouse programs, but Washington says he likes what he's seen from Derek Mason.

"Right now, my focus is on building relationships with the coaches," Washington said. "I've down to Vandy a couple of times to get to know them better. Coach Bankins is a great guy, very down-to earth. I got to know the new group of coaches there. I love them. I think they're going to do big things there for awhile. Vanderbilt's a school with a procedure for admittance because of their great academics. That's fine with me. I'm a big academic guy.

"Coach Mason wants to get back to having bigger backs [at Vanderbilt]. He wants to add some guys with power because he said he only has one back who's over 200 pounds on the roster. Instead of having a 1-2 combo, he wants to get back to having more of a feature runner who can do power sweeps and make some catches coming out of the backfield. He believes I could come in and be that guy."

"As I move closer to making a decision on college, I'm just going around to get a feel for the coaches. I've been to Tennessee four times, I've been to Florida, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Wake Forest, Ohio State, West Virginia. I'm working on getting my list down to 15 schools that I can really focus on building up that solid relationship with the coaches. When the contact period begins, I don't want coaches calling me all the time for no reason."

Washington rushed for 2512 yards (11.5 yards-per-carry) as a sophomore at SouthLake Christian with 28 touchdowns. He got every accolade imaginable in the Charlotte metro area and saw his recruiting stock skyrocket. Now he must sort through all of the offers, but with plenty of time to spare.

"By next spring, I think I'll be really close to knowing where I'm going to go," he said. "My relationship with the coaches will play a big part, but academics are equally important, if not more so. Like I said, I'm a big academic guy. I also want to be at a place where I'm comfortable and can grow socially with my peers. You shouldn't go to a college where you're not comfortable in the environment because when football season ends, you're going to be miserable. It doesn't necessarily have to be close to home. I'm the type of guy who will go the school I feel has the most qualities I'm looking for no matter how far away it is."

Washington said he's nearing the release of his top 15 which will progress to a top 10 then later a final five. He'll be joined by 13 other returning starters at SouthLake Christian Academy, located on Lake Norman, this fall in hopes repeating as N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association Division III state champion.

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