Three-star athlete Keith Washington (Prattville, Alabama) committed to Michigan on National Signing Day, flipping his pledge from California.
He was brought in as a defensive back and the coaching staff is really high on him. Jim Harbaugh raved about him in his press conference on Wednesday.
"I'm going to have to take a deep, long, bow here," Harbaugh joked. "I was kind of his recruiting coach, area coach, and I just really, really liked watching him play on tape right away. When I went down to visit him along with coach D.J. Durkin, we were there with his father "Big Keith" and has a great mother Candace as well, the four of us are sitting there and talking to him. I asked him how fast he was and he said '4.3 coach' and I said 'come on! 4.3, everybody thinks they can run a 4.3!' He said 'I'll go out into the parking lot right now, coach' he was serious.
"I liked him even more. I knew he was competitive and got a great, great feeling about him. You're going to like him."
Defensive backs coach Mike Zordich also had good things to say about Washington on MGoBlue.com.
"Keith has a great feel for the game. He has really good speed and a great change of direction, which means he has fluid hips and good feet," said Zordich. The thing I like the best about him is his length. He has really long arms, and he is the kind of guy we are looking for to get up in somebody's face and go play ball. He is the perfect fit for what the Michigan defense is all about. Keith also played quarterback, where he showed tremendous leadership, and he was probably the best athlete on his high school team."
From taking a quick look at his film, Zordich's evaluation of him is pretty spot on. His speed at defensive back will definitely allow him to keep up with some of the quicker receivers he goes up against and he'll be able to chase ballcarriers downfield as well.
Washington just makes plays, which is something the Wolverines have lacked in their secondary for awhile. It's going to take some time for him to adjust to playing defensive back full-time, but he has the tools and the staff to help get the most out of his skill set. A college weight program will definitely benefit him, as he is still pretty lean.
This is a nice get for Michigan. He will be a project, but should be a good part of the rotation if/when he figures it out.