The suspense surrounding which school would gain the commitment of Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary's wide receiver Taurian Washington was long gone.
But that didn't stop Washington from formally announcing his plans to become an Ohio State Buckeye on Tuesday afternoon.
The 6-0, 180-pound Washington had trimmed his list to Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin earlier in the summer. He had Michigan at the top for much of his recruitment.
That all changed, though, when Ohio State made it clear just how badly they wanted him by offering a scholarship. Once his childhood favorite jumped more definitively into the fray, that was all she wrote for the competition.
“I was not sure if they would offer, but then (assistant coach Paul) Haynes called and said they were offering me a scholarship to Ohio State," Washington recalled. "Then Coach Haynes told me that I had to contact Coach Tressel because he wanted to talk to me. I called Coach Tressel and told him that I wanted to be a Buckeye and that I was coming to Ohio State. Coach Tressel was real excited.”
The decision to spurn the in-state Wolverines in favor of their heated rivals wasn't one Washington took lightly. He understood that the choice might be unpopular with many around the state. But at the end of the day, his love for the Buckeyes eliminated any reservations he may have had. The support of his parents was a big key as well.
“My parents are very proud of me," Washington said. "My dad has told me to just go in there and work hard. (Wide receivers coach Darrell) Hazell has told me the same thing. He said if I come in and work hard, I have a shot at playing early.
"Michigan is a great school and I almost committed to them," continued Washington. "They have a very good staff. It just came down to the fact I always wanted to go to Ohio State. Like I said they were my childhood favorite."
With a full year still to go before he officially dons the Scarlet and Gray, Washington is now completely focused on finishing his high school career on a high note -- both in and out of the classroom.
“I am going to keep my grades up," he said. "I'm not going to let that slip. I'm also going to work hard to help my team win a state title this year.”
Washington becomes OSU’s seventh commitment for 2007. He is the second wide receiver in the class joining, Toledo Central Catholic’s Dane Sanzenbacher.
He is the nation’s No. 23 wide receiver, according to Scout.com. He is also ranked as the No. 8 overall prospect in Michigan and No. 31 overall in the Midwest.
Washington transferred to St. Mary's from St. Martin De Porres after his sophomore year. Washington had 25 receptions as a junior and scored 12 touchdowns.
"I have very good awareness on the football field,” said Washington, who boasts a 3.0 GPA. “I understand coverage and I can talk to my quarterback about what the defense is giving us in coverage.
"My hands and my strength are good and I'm going to work on my route running and my footwork. I go get the ball. I want to improve my speed and agility by practicing on my own with cones, and with a speed trainer."
Washington will join his former St. Mary's teammate, safety Aaron Gant, at OSU next year.