Tevin Washington Georgia Tech’s unquestioned leader

Tevin Washington was 18. He had arrived on campus at Georgia Tech weeks earlier. He was deep on the depth chart. On an August day, in the office of coach Paul Johnson, he sat across from the man who gave him his only major-college scholarship offer to play quarterback and now controlled his playing time.

Johnson wanted him to switch positions to A-back for the season. His other option would be to redshirt and stay behind classmate Jaybo Shaw. Washington was disappointed, but undaunted.

Said Washington, “I kind of told him I came to school to play quarterback.”

Washington has fulfilled his purpose, and more. Not only will Washington begin his second season as Tech’s starting quarterback Monday night against No. 16 Virginia Tech, but he has developed into the Yellow Jackets’ unchallenged leader, a position earned through perseverance and drive that is sometimes masked by his tranquil personality. Washington, who practices “yes, sir/no, sir” manners and gets teased for his floppy-armed running style, has surpassed the expectations of most, including Johnson.

Said the coach, “That’s why you never know.”

Monday, Washington returns to Virginia Tech’s Lane Stadium, where, on a chilly Nov. 2010 night, he was thrust to the forefront following a season-ending arm injury to starter Joshua Nesbitt.

“As soon as Tevin came into the huddle, he said, ‘Alright, guys, I’m here until Nesbitt comes back,’” former A-back Roddy Jones said. “’And if he doesn’t come back, I’m here the rest of the way. Let’s get going.’”

The Jackets lost that night, 28-21, but Washington, who had risen to the backup spot after Shaw transferred earlier in the year, held his own. He led a fourth-quarter touchdown drive to tie the game at 21 and then drove Tech in the final 2:23 from its 20-yard line to the Hokies’ 16, where his pass into the end zone was intercepted with eight seconds remaining, ending the game.

He has piloted the Jackets since, 17 consecutive starts. The ride has had its bumps. At his best, Washington, from Wetumpka, Ala., is an unflappable conductor of Tech’s option-based spread offense.

“He may not be the fastest guy or have the strongest arm, but he can go out there and execute the things that give us a chance to win,” quarterbacks and B-backs coach Brian Bohannon said. “You’ve got to give the guy a lot of credit for that.”

Washington’s drive to become that player has set him apart. When Washington rouses his roommate and teammate Omoregie Uzzi early in the morning to go rehearse the footwork of their intricate offense or to watch video of future opponents, he is acting on years of watching his father Lewis work late hours as an educational administrator and high-school basketball coach. When Jones and others noticed Washington spending nights throwing to receivers on a campus recreation field, they saw a teammate committed to erasing his weaknesses one pass at a time.

“Most of the time, you only get one opportunity to do stuff,” Washington said, “so you don’t ever want to look back and have any regrets.”

That mindset led Washington again to Johnson’s office again last summer, just before the start of the fall term. Washington wanted to take two of the toughest requirements in the management major, computer science and finite math. Academic adviser Chris Breen and Johnson cautioned against it, concerned it would be a heavy load for any team member, let alone one about to become the full-time starting quarterback.

Washington, though, wanted to honor his word. In the summer of 2010, weeks before she died, Washington had promised his great-grandmother Mary Wilson that he would graduate in four years. To stay on track to graduate by the summer of 2012 and fulfill his promise, he needed to take both classes. Johnson relented, but told Washington that it was his responsibility.

Said Washington, “It was all good till we got around to the first test.”

Struggling the whole way, often doing coding homework on Friday nights at the team hotel, Washington barely survived. He completed his degree in August.

On the field, Washington exploded in the first half of 2011, when he led Tech to a 6-0 start. He compiled a nonsensical passer efficiency rating of 286.6 in the first four games. After that, he said, he began to put pressure on himself to maintain the Jackets’ scoring binge. Against stiffer competition, his game collapsed. Tech lost five of its last seven. In Washington’s final nine games, his rating was 104.4.

“I took the fun out of it and tried to make everything perfect,” Washington said. “Football’s not a perfect game. You’ve just got to go out and play.”

Washington, who will earn credits this semester through a co-op at a law firm, will take on one of the toughest tests of the season Monday night. The Hokies defense from 2011 ranked in the top 10 nationally in scoring and yards permitted and will have eight returning starters on the field.

“He’s more confident and more comfortable, older, more mature,” Johnson said.

It looks like he’s here the rest of the way.

In case you missed it…

Barnes likely first to wear No. 40

Tech seniors will wear No. 40 for Julian Burnett

Notes: Perkins to start at B-back

Izaan Cross Q&A

Georgia Tech depth chart

Johnson places Twitter ban on Tech

About the Georgia Tech helmets…

Tech uniforms: ‘A lot of things in the pipeline’

Broderick Snoddy, Tech’s potential game-changer

B-backs remain a question mark

Jeff Schultz’s column on Tech’s defense

B-backs still unsettled for Georgia Tech

Recalling the 2000 Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech lightning game

Ready or not, Jabari Hunt-Days to start vs. Hokies

Thanks for reading.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

55 comments Add your comment

Old Blind Dawg

September 3rd, 2012
10:17 am

It’s almost here techies. I’m really looking forward to tonight’s game – it should tell us a lot about the ACC.

My Dogs left me wondering and looking towards next week with mix feelings.

Good luck and enjoy your game techies.

Old Blind Dawg

September 3rd, 2012
10:18 am

Ah that should be mixed feelings not mix feelings – ugh

Reebok

September 3rd, 2012
10:27 am

Thanks, OBD. Looking forward to the game tonite and hoping my Jackets can pull off the upset. Good luck next week against Missouri.

JustinSyder

September 3rd, 2012
10:38 am

Chilling article.

macrotech

September 3rd, 2012
10:41 am

Is it eight p.m., YET?! I didn’t get to see much football this weekend so I’m JACKED about tonight……GO TECH!!! Really looking forward to seeing this Yellow Jacket team….I’m cautiously optimistic!!!

William Casey

September 3rd, 2012
10:46 am

Tevin is a GT type player. It takes precisely his attitude to get through the Institute. I look forward to Tevin Washington leading the Jackets tonight against VT.

Mike Bell 790

September 3rd, 2012
11:07 am

Jacket Detective

September 3rd, 2012
11:56 am

Another great job Ken.
You can’t leave us; at least not for a few years.
The AJC will give us another Uga journalism grad.
The guy u replaced was not a bad guy but there was no way he was going to be trusted.
Really it was an unfar assignment for him.
That type of short-sightedness in so many areas is why folks stop their subscriptions.
I have a Sunday only and am considering daily.
Having the right guy (you) plays a big part in my future decision.

Jacket Detective

September 3rd, 2012
11:59 am

You can never guarantee a win, especially on the road and against a formidable team like VT and one of the best coaching staffs in college football.
But it sure would be great to win this one for Julian #40.
Can we execute against the VT defense and Bus Foster’s planning?
I think we can and hope for the best.
Go Jackets.

Jacket Detective

September 3rd, 2012
12:02 pm

Bud not Bus.

Jacket Detective

September 3rd, 2012
12:09 pm

I like our two KO returners and the Big O’s eagerness to go for all-purpose yards.
Kick it away from him and they’ll have to deal with Tony Zenon’s speed.
They will probably try to keep it away from him from scrimmage but we do have a few handoff plays and passes.

Jacket Detective

September 3rd, 2012
12:11 pm

When we have the ball: Our experienced offense vs their experienced defense.
When they have the ball: Their inexperienced offense vs our inexperienced defense.
Both sides have exceptions to these generalizations.

fuzzybee78

September 3rd, 2012
12:28 pm

Well done Ken, I echo my sentiments with the above on your work.

Tevin Washington’s work ethic and class act on and off the field make all of us proud to be alum.

Now rewrite that ending from two years ago Tevin!

Jacket Man

September 3rd, 2012
12:31 pm

DON’T FEED THE TROLL(S).

Great job as usual, Ken. I read this on one of the sites and it made sense: Don’t turn the ball over; no dumb penalties; don’t have kickoffs go out of bounds and give the Hokies short fields; keep Logan in the pocket; wrap up tackles; don’t over persue defensively and stay in your lanes; any chance you get to make a turnover, take it (recover the fumble and make the interception); keep your focus offensively (catch passes thrown to you, make your blocks, make correct reads on handoffs, pitches, and passes); no special teams breakdowns; run out of bounds or fall down to avoid cheap hits and injuries and stop the clock; control Time of Possession…do these things; Jackets win. Don’t do these things; Jackets lose.

Big Crimson 75

September 3rd, 2012
12:52 pm

Detective — who did Ken replace?
I don’t remember.

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

September 3rd, 2012
12:55 pm

That’s a long list Jacket Man! If we cover 80% of them we will be in good shape.

Ken, great work. Is it me or does there seem to be less trolling? Great job cleaning the site up.

gtjason

September 3rd, 2012
12:57 pm

I do not know why but I have this feeling of great optimism and excitement for this season! This is our year to be a break out team! Let’s go get that W for #40! GO JACKETS!

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

September 3rd, 2012
1:14 pm

I like Tevin’s attitude. If he sticks to it and doesn’t try to do too much himself, let the game come to him, then he should have a very successful season.

5150 UOAD

September 3rd, 2012
1:19 pm

Big Crimson 75
September 3rd, 2012
12:52 pm

Detective — who did Ken replace?
I don’t remember.

======================================

UGa grad and Soccer lover Doug Roberson that now covers GaState.

Doug did a credible job...

September 3rd, 2012
1:25 pm

…not as good as Ken, but almost – you guys are just loyalist and there is nothing wrong with that…by the way, is Ken a GT grad?

WnE

September 3rd, 2012
1:26 pm

re:
That mindset led Washington again to Johnson’s office again last summer, just before the start of the fall term. Washington wanted to take two of the toughest requirements in the management major, computer science and finite math. Academic adviser Chris Breen and Johnson cautioned against it, concerned it would be a heavy load for any team member, let alone one about to become the full-time starting quarterback.

Washington, though, wanted to honor his word. In the summer of 2010, weeks before she died, Washington had promised his great-grandmother Mary Wilson that he would graduate in four years. To stay on track to graduate by the summer of 2012 and fulfill his promise, he needed to take both classes. Johnson relented, but told Washington that it was his responsibility.
______________

I’m not sure I’m reading this correctly, but here we go:

Tevin went to his HC and told his Academic advisor that he wanted to take certain classes that would put him on track to Graduate in 4 year and at that point a PE major from W. Carolina (CPJ) tried to get him to take an “easier path” for the SAKE OF FB?

Is that the advice that a TECH MAN would give to someone?

That sounds to me like what happens at the so-called-factory schools that the smug, elitist GT fans (not me of course) always criticize.

That PE major from W.Carolina sure doesn’t sound like what I would expect from a “Tech Man”, that sounds like what you’d expect at UNC-Chapel Hill or some SEC “factory”.

Wow, I’m just shocked that our HC told one of our STUDENT-athletes to take a lesser road for the sake of on-field FB reasons.

Now that we know what kind of guy CPJ “really is”, maybe he can now start bringing in the FB-equivalent of Kenny Anderson & Stephon Marbury.

Don’t get mad a me for writing this, many of you were thinking the same thing, you just didn’t want to say anything and hoped it would “slide by” so that GT’s precious Academic Eliteness or the perception of Academic Eliteness can be at least kept up publicly.

Boy I can’t wait for the GAME to start!

yeller bug

September 3rd, 2012
1:47 pm

Actually it was worthwhile advice WnE. The extra-curricular demands of playing football DO impact your studies and if you want to do well, then you should take a lighter load in the Fall and take more difficult classes in the Spring—simple logic tells you that. TW is a 5th yr senior and could have followed CPJs advice and taken the courses in the Spring and got his degree, but he had a self-imposed timeline to graduate in 4 years to honor his promise to his late grandmother. Great heart and commitment from TW and sound “devil’s advocate” consulting/advice to confirm his commitment from CPJ.

ronny

September 3rd, 2012
1:54 pm

I guarantee a hokies win today! I also have some sick betting tips for anyone who wants to make some coin! come by read and enjoy! http://ncaasportsnews.com/the-battle-of-the-techs/

WnE

September 3rd, 2012
1:55 pm

re:
yeller bug
September 3rd, 2012
1:47 pm

Actually it was worthwhile advice WnE. The extra-curricular demands of playing football DO impact your studies and if you want to do well, then you should take a lighter load in the Fall and take more difficult classes in the Spring—simple logic tells you that. TW is a 5th yr senior and could have followed CPJs advice and taken the courses in the Spring and got his degree, but he had a self-imposed timeline to graduate in 4 years to honor his promise to his late grandmother. Great heart and commitment from TW and sound “devil’s advocate” consulting/advice to confirm his commitment from CPJ.
_____________

I have no problem with anything that happened or your opinions.

But the “holier-than-thou” GT crowd needs to have the same reaction when Richt or Saban do the same thing for their players.

My point is that ALL BCS-level colleges do many of the same things, and those that think that “my school is different”, are in denial.

Your comments are very fair.

Big Crimson 75

September 3rd, 2012
1:55 pm

WrecksNeffect — I agree!!…..with your last sentence.
I’m ready to see a good game.
Week 1 has been rather dull.
Bama made mockery out of Michigan & the Atlanta games were not very good.
I suppose some might point to the score of Clemson/Aubie, but that game was missing something —- my vote would be Coaching!!
Tech – Tech should be the best Game of the weekend.

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

September 3rd, 2012
1:57 pm

Just when ya think there’s less trolling, along comes WnE! Oh well. I guess I don’t have to read it (that strategy works quite well!).

ronny

September 3rd, 2012
2:37 pm

I have a good article tellling you why you should bet the Hokies as well as the under so come check it out here and enjoy! http://ncaasportsnews.com/the-battle-of-the-techs/

yeller bug

September 3rd, 2012
2:43 pm

@WnE: Well the word “fan” is short for fanatic—an overly exhuberant supporter and most of the people posting on this site are big time fans of GT or fans of other schools that are here to talk trash and yes we all hyperinflate the mistakes of our competitors while minimizing our own—-be it jokes of a high school offense or the misconduct/extracurricular activies of some of the players—-but hopefully in a spirit of good natured fun. Some do it with more class than others, but in the grand scheme of God’s overall plan for mankind, this stuff is trivial.
So do two wrongs make a right? You condemn the “denial and holier than thou attitudes” as being misguided, yet is your commentary fair and balanced? You typically display a mean-streak in your commentary. You seem bitter. Constructive criticism is worthwhile, even necessary, but your tone is harsh,full of vitriol & often over the top—perhaps your goal is not to offer enlightening commentary but to provoke others. If that is the case, you have been successful as you certainly bring attention to yourself. Being a fan requires a commitment to the team—you can be critical of virtually every aspect, but you still desire the team to do well. Most of us do not see the “fan” commitment in you. If you claim to be one, then show a little more support or at least criticize with a little more class.

WnE

September 3rd, 2012
3:23 pm

re:
Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

September 3rd, 2012
1:57 pm
_____________

Honey bees & Bumblees have fuzz , but Yellow Jackets are smooth and fuzz-less like all other Wasps.

WnE

September 3rd, 2012
3:27 pm

re:
yeller bug
September 3rd, 2012
2:43 pm

@WnE: Well the word “fan” is short for fanatic—an overly exhuberant supporter and most of the people posting on this site……………………………………

_____________

I bring balance to “the Force” to offset the evil Sith Lords that don’t realize how evil Triple Option FB is when your goals are to beat Muttville & play for MNCs.

It’s all about balance.

I bring it, most GT Fans don’t want it.

1 4 GT

September 3rd, 2012
3:56 pm

WnE….I don’t want any chance of you and others thinking this is meant for anyone but you. If I could get to right at this moment, I would knock your head off with a 2 x 4. CPJ & the team advised not taking both of these rigorous courses at the same time during football season, for reasons having to do with creating a negative impact on Tevin’s grades, not his football duties. But leave it to your worthless self to twist it 180 degrees. You are such an empty shell of a GT man, not to mention a man, period. Do the world a favor! Pull your lower lip up and over your head & swallow real hard & disappear!!

Big Crimson 75

September 3rd, 2012
4:06 pm

BAM!!!!
…and stop making Stat Wars references!!
WnE, if you were a SWs character, you’d be Salacious B. Crumb.

1 4 GT

September 3rd, 2012
4:10 pm

“Carnack”….you can’t spin yourself out of your first diatribe. Nowhere did you even hint at all BCS level coaches/schools doing the same thing for their players. It was, as usual, a head on attack on CPJ and the school’s academic liaison to the athletic department and a further illustration of your hatred for CPJ & GT!!! Your comment @ 1:55 do not have any relationship with your comment @ 1:26.

1 4 GT

September 3rd, 2012
4:15 pm

Thanks to the UGA commenters that have shown there are still some of y’all with decency and brains left . And Bi Cri too. Class & manners are always nice.

Big Crimson 75

September 3rd, 2012
4:24 pm

14 — I don’t think the pups have much to crow about right now.
After Saturday, it’s apparent once again, they don’t need much help needling their program — they eat their own well enough!!

WnE

September 3rd, 2012
4:27 pm

re:
1 4 GT
September 3rd, 2012
3:56 pm

WnE….I don’t want any chance of you and others thinking this is meant for anyone but you. If I could get to right at this moment, I would knock your head off with a 2 x 4. CPJ & the team advised not taking both of these rigorous courses at the same time during football season, for reasons having to do with creating a negative impact on Tevin’s grades, not his football duties. But leave it to your worthless self to twist it 180 degrees. You are such an empty shell of a GT man, not to mention a man, period. Do the world a favor! Pull your lower lip up and over your head & swallow real hard & disappear!!
____________

You’re full-o-crap and you know it!

If that same article was written and the names were changed to include CMR & Muttville, the first thing you would say is, “that’s the difference between a factory like UGA and school like GT with real academics, we don’t try and get our players to cut corners and come up with creative ways to keep them eligible………………blah, blah etc. “.

The bottom line is this:

In CPJ’s eyes FOOTBALL is more important than Academics and the advice he gave him was for ON-FIELD REASONS primarily.

That makes CPJ the same kind of high-paid mercenary that coaches in the SEC or any other big time FB program.

The illusion that GT is some sort of exception to the rule is just that AN ILLUSION!

WnE

September 3rd, 2012
4:40 pm

re:
1 4 GT
September 3rd, 2012
4:10 pm

“Carnack”….you can’t spin yourself out of your first diatribe. Nowhere did you even hint at all BCS level coaches/schools doing the same thing for their players. It was, as usual, a head on attack on CPJ and the school’s academic liaison to the athletic department and a further illustration of your hatred for CPJ & GT!!! Your comment @ 1:55 do not have any relationship with your comment @ 1:26.
_____________

While you are defending CPJ you should know that GOL caught H3LL from all three major GT message boards for doing that very same thing, having FB players “push” their difficult classes into the future in order to lighten their load during their time of eligibility when they playing.

Other GT fans theorized that by doing this, GOL hurt graduation rates because the FB players were left with less access to tutors and support and a bunch of hard classes in order to graduate.

Tutors & support staff prioritize their efforts on players that still have eligibility left and can produce on the field, after that then they try and help guys the are trying to finish up but aren’t playing anymore.

There is a precedence of GT fans criticizing this kind of behavior from a GT HC, but the HC was GOL and since he is a former GT HC, then he’s fair game, but the current guy (CPJ) is popular so he gets a free pass.

I am thankful & happy that Tevin was able to graduate from GT despite CPJ’s chicanery.

1 4 GT

September 3rd, 2012
4:47 pm

Oh!!!! Just shut up & go away. I wish you didn’t infuriate me so much & I wouldn’t fire back at you. I & my brothers heard all of our growing up years from our Dad, about how he couldn’t stand 2 types of people. Liars & thieves. I won’t call you a thief; I have no idea. I will call you a liar, though. I have a problem with letting such blatant lies as yours slide by without trying to set things aright.

I thought...

September 3rd, 2012
5:02 pm

…that Tevin took those 2 courses during summer school, which, while during off season workouts, is NOT during football season (the season runs August – the first week of January – so, correct me if I am incorrect, though it looks like 1 4 GT is the one blowing things out of proportion…and take a chill pill…geeesh1

BLT

September 3rd, 2012
5:02 pm

Looking forward to the game. Win for Julian! Go Jackets!

Oh, yeah

September 3rd, 2012
5:03 pm

“That mindset led Washington again to Johnson’s office again last summer”

WnE

September 3rd, 2012
6:37 pm

About an hour & a half until KO and my I’m tingling all over, I always get like this when a new season approaches.

I luv me some GT FB…………………….triple option offenses…………not so much!

GTGirl

September 3rd, 2012
7:36 pm

Great article on Tevin, Ken! Thanks for the insight! I am very impressed with Tevin. (Hope I still will be in a lil while).
Go Jackets!!! Give ‘em hell Tevin!!!

GTGirl

September 3rd, 2012
7:37 pm

I like the white helmets and new unis! We look good!

Charleston Jacket

September 3rd, 2012
9:57 pm

Doesn’t look like much of a leader so far tonight

North Ave Killer Beez

September 3rd, 2012
10:40 pm

Tevin is horrible…. period!!

GT-UT

September 3rd, 2012
11:10 pm

Come on Special Teams!!

Get Real

September 3rd, 2012
11:30 pm

What the hell was he thinking when he threw the ball up for grabs in OT…..frikin unbelievable….absolutely unbelievable

3D

September 3rd, 2012
11:31 pm

Another Atlanta team chokes again. I love the city but all of their sports team suck. All of them!!!

Get Real

September 3rd, 2012
11:33 pm

I am beyond pissed at moment, just glad I do not have to get up and function at work tomorrow….