Washington Brings A Constant To Tech's Offense

Washington Brings A Constant To Tech's Offense

Brandon Chatmon, ESPN Staff Writer

Uncertainty has become commonplace in the offensive backfield at Texas Tech.

Five different quarterbacks (Davis Webb, Baker Mayfield, Patrick Mahomes, Vincent Testaverde and Michael Brewer) have thrown passes for the Red Raiders during Kliff Kingsbury's first two seasons in Lubbock, Texas.

There's been one constant throughout.

DeAndre Washington heads into his senior season as one of the Big 12's top running backs with an eye on being even better during his final season. His offseason focus has been consistency and versatility as he strives to impact games as a runner, pass-catcher, blocker and special teamer.

"Consistency, being as versatile as possible," Washington said when asked what he worked on to improve heading into his final season. "Whatever I can to help my team."

His junior season set a high standard for him to pursue this fall. Washington earned second-team All-Big 12 honors in 2014, finishing with 188 carries for 1,103 rushing yards and two touchdowns along with 30 receptions for 328 receiving yards.

"He's not your average cat," offensive lineman Jared Kaster said. "He's not going to accept average. He's going to go in and outwork every running back we have, every guy on the team that we have and he's going to put in that extra work to get over 1,000 yards, get more touchdowns than last year."

The senior's proven production makes things easier on Kingsbury who promises to use Washington's skill set as a key component of the offense in 2015. While there could be some uncertainty under center, Washington provides a safety net to lean on if the soon-to-be named starting quarterback struggles.

"We'll continue to find ways to get him the ball," Kingsbury said. "In a down year, he was definitely a bright spot on and off the field. Did a great job leading, never gave up, had some dire situations where he continued to run the ball tough when we were out of games. I couldn't be more impressed with him, his development on and off the field. I expect another great year from DeAndre."

The Big 12 is full of quality runners -- including returning All-Big 12 first-teamers Oklahoma's Samaje Perine and Baylor's Shock Linwood -- but few can match the complete package brought to the table by Washington, who is quick as a cat, yet undeterred when asked to run between the tackles. Asked where he lands in the hierarchy of Big 12 ball carriers, Washington was humble but confident.

"I respect all the guys in the conference, a lot of them had great seasons. But I feel like I'm right there in the top tier," he said.

While Mahomes and Webb continue compete to trigger the offense, the Red Raiders can be confident they can count on Washington to be there to supplement the eventual winner of the quarterback derby and be a centerpiece of Tech's offensive plans for the second straight season.

"He's a guy you want in your backfield, a guy you want to spill your guts out blocking for," Kaster said.

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