Syracuse turned heads in May when the school officially un-retired the school’s legendary No. 44 football jersey, which was worn by running back luminaries Ernie Davis (a Heisman winner), Jim Brown and Floyd Little. The move was made in part to attract top-tier prep running backs, and it worked a charm practically right away, with Mountain Island Charter running back Robert Washington, one of the nation’s top 12 overall running back recruits pledging his future to the Orange.
The offshoot of Washington’s pledge was backlash against Syracuse’s decision, with some celebrity alums throwing shade at the school for it’s apparent willingness to mortgage tradition for contemporary gains. Now it appears that the strategy to Washington may not even prove successful. As first Tweeted by Scout Sports’ Mike McAllister, Washington has announced that he is de-committing from Syracuse to consider other programs. The North Carolina native holds scholarship offers from most of the nation’s top programs, and while he could very well still choose Syracuse, the early reports on the reasoning for his change in heart don’t sound good for the Orange.
According to Syracuse.com, Washington decided to de-commit because of a lack of trust in the Syracuse coach recruiting him, ‘Cuse running backs coach DeAndre Smith. The reason for the erosion of trust? It apparently has everything to do with Washington’s father.
“I told DeAndre to stop talking to my dad, he did it anyway so I just felt like I couldn’t trust him,” Washington told Syracuse.com. “Trust is a big thing for me and he lost my trust.
“It wasn’t mutual. I decided because of what DeAndre did and I didn’t end up going. He was going to be the guy that I was going to be around all the time at Syracuse. If I can’t trust my position coach, then we aren’t going to go far in life.”
On a deeper level, Washington’s pledge will still have a significant impact on Syracuse, simply by setting the stage to see a No. 44 on the field in the coming days, whether Orange alum are happy about it or not.