"Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed." —Booker T. Washington
"I wasn't a major part of the offense that season. I had my moments. Just not enough of them," said the 6'6", 220-pounder.
"He (Jacory) was a toothpick a year ago. Long, tall and skinny. He has kicked it into overdrive this summer. He is no-nonsense. Super serious. A new confidence," proclaimed Tyler Johnson, Jacory's talented junior quarterback.
"It is like a total mental and physical transformation. Jacory knew that many people viewed him as a basketball player who played football. He is determined to prove he's equally adept at both sports," added the 6'2", 190-pound signal caller.
"No one really knew about me a year ago. I turned to you for help in getting my name out there to college coaches. The email blasts did that. Your Facebook updates helped too. It was one of the smartest moves my dad and I ever did. It's all about getting noticed. Based on my size and potential, I started getting contacts almost immediately," recalled Washington.
The focus initially was on the smaller schools within his home state. Louisiana-Lafayette was the first to offer. And there was tremendous relief. Then Florida Atlantic. And there was joy. Followed by Illinois of the Big Ten. And even more jubilation.
"It was like dominoes. Once the first one fell, others started to roll in," Jacory noted.
Then the summer of 2012 started. Jacory's hoop skills sent him on an excursion to Washington D.C. and Philadelphia for the All-American Reebok Showdown.
As soon as he returned to the Bayou State, Washington got a call from LSU. He shined in the Baton Rouge camp setting in mid-July. And before the weekend was over, head coach Les Miles and the Tigers had offered.
The flood gates suddenly opened. Two days later, Tyler Johnson, his step-father and Jacory piled into the car and headed to College Station, Texas to visit Texas A&M. Within a day, head coach Kevin Sumlin and the Aggies had offered.
From there, the threesome drove eleven exhausting hours directly to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. There was no camp, so the Washington crew knew that the Tide wasn't bringing him in to exchange pleasantries. Still, after a meeting with head coach Nick Saban that lasted ninety minutes, there was no immediate offer from the defending national champions.
"Coach Saban said he heard very positive things about me and it was all but a given I'd receive an offer. But first my high school coach would have to be contacted and my game film analysed one last time," Washington added.
Like a classic movie you watch more than once, Coach Saban gave Jacory a huge thumbs up. Within 24 hours of being back in Westlake, Alabama offered.
"To have three major power programs from the Southeast Conference offer over the course of a week was beyond my wildest dreams," Jacory told me.
But that dream would get even better two days later when new head coach John L. Smith and the Arkansas Razorbacks offered Washington as well.
So in the course of just over a calendar week, four of the marquee programs in college football's most powerful conference offered the two-sport star.
"When we appeared together on The Artie Clear Show at the start of the Summer, you told Artie and his listening audience that I have the same type of size and gridiron athleticism that former basketball stars Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez and Jimmy Graham possess. I'm not sure Artie believed you that night. Honestly, I'm not sure I believed you. But it got me fired up and believing," recalled Jacory.
The next week, Jacory flew to Florida to meet with JuniorRank CEO Shaon Berry. His noted football camp system has a partnership with the U.S. Marines and hosts an All-Star gathering of stud prospects from middle-school to seniors at the end of each calendar year in Arizona.
The highlight of which is the Semper Fidelis All-American game for 12th graders, televised by CBS Sports. A shrewd eye for talent, Berry got Jacory Washington to commit to playing in his 2014 game in Phoenix.
And what if the Under Armour or the U.S. Army game come calling for Jacory's services his senior year for their immensely popular games?
"Unless they are on different weekends, I gave my word to Mr. Berry, and my word is my bond," proclaimed Washington.
While several recent scouting publications like Scout.com have had Washington ranked as one of the top junior prospects in talent-rich Louisiana, other outlets have failed to mention Washington in their Top 100 Class of "14 list of players." One recent article on the 50 highest-rated tight ends of the South failed to mention him.
"Mike Coppage of Scout knows me, was at the LSU camp the weekend they offered and has been to my school on several occasions. His mother used to teach there. As far as the other articles, I don't feed into all that negative energy. My stats last year (as a sophomore) were ordinary. Numbers don't lie and I didn't have eye-popping numbers."
"With a new coach (Shawn Demeritt) in place at Westlake, we've shifted from a run-oriented offense to a wide-open, spread attack. I am confident I'll put up the kind of numbers to warrant the offers I received last month. Some amazing college programs think I have the ability to play for their teams. But I won't let that get into my head either. Along with Tyler and the rest of the guys, I want to lead the Rams back into the playoffs and hopefully a state championship or two before I head to the next level," explained the soft-spoken giant.
This whirlwind of jaw-dropping offers in the course of a week was the crux of recruiting fairy tales. But for Jacory Washington, it suddenly was very real.
"I give all praise to God, my parents, my personal trainer Eric Franklin at Unlimited Sports, and the guidance of recruiting guru Dan Picca," listed the grateful 17 year old.
Jacory's mid-summer joyride continued into his junior campaign. As impressive as the mid-summer offerfest was, Jacory may have had a better Labor Day weekend when San Diego State, UCLA, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt all joined in the Washington Derby. Houston and Hawaii followed suit recently.
Washington put up impressive junior stats in Westlake's run-oriented offense: 35 receptions for 479 yards with seven touchdowns. He did an official visit to Tuscaloosa on November 14 for A&M's stunning upset of then top-rated Alabama. Both teams remain high on Washington's favorite list.
Little Westlake, Louisiana in Calcasieu Parish will continue to be a popular traveling destination for some of the nation's finest and most famous college coaches this off-season and in the next year or so.
They won't be coming for the local delicacies of crawfish etouffee, gumbo or jambalaya. They'll all be hoping for a fully seasoned six-and-a-half-foot tight end to go.
Jacory Washington knows he's been blessed with immense physical gifts and a sound mind. A solid 3.0 GPA student with aspirations of majoring in mechanical engineering at whatever fortunate university eventually lands him, Jacory knows that one dream summer of reckoning followed by a memorable Labor Day offer bonanza, while memorable, does not constitute a lifetime.
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