L. Washington turns his sights toward the NFL

On Colleges

November 18, 1995|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Larry Washington had just finished his collegiate career last Saturday by plowing through the Southern Connecticut defense for 205 yards and three touchdowns when he was asked about his future.

What's next for the Towson State running back? Had he carried the football for the last time, or did he do enough in nine games after transferring from Maryland to salvage a chance to play professionally?

Washington doesn't sound like a man ready to hang up his cleats. "All I need is an opportunity," he said.

His numbers were solid this season -- 1,101 yards and 12 touchdowns -- despite facing some eight- and nine-man defensive fronts geared toward stopping him. Though he often appeared slow as he tried to play himself into shape, he was strong enough to rush 25 times last weekend and still look fresh. But coach Gordy Combs advised him to "lift and run," knowing a good time in the 40-yard -- is imperative.

"He's got to get in better shape," Combs said. "That's up to him now. I don't have anything to do with that anymore. The weight room's open to him any time he wants to use it.

"You can just see how good he can be. He's a thoroughbred. He's got great feet, great balance, a low center of gravity. He just has to make a strong commitment. People [from the NFL] will see him on film and want to check him out, but he's going to have to run a good 40 time. He can't just do nothing until they show up, then work out for them."

That means getting his weight down from "the high 220s to the 211-212 range," Combs said.

Washington had been inactive for nearly two years before coming to Towson. He appeared in only 14 games over three seasons at Maryland, gaining 292 yards, but he's most remembered for being involved in the theft of a credit card and agreeing to a charge of probation before judgment. His reputation was hurt, and he needed a fresh start.

He found it at a Division I-AA, non-scholarship program, calling the move to Towson "a positive experience."

"I know I'm in a lot better shape now than I would have been at Maryland -- a lot better shape," he said. "At Maryland, I probably wouldn't be talking about running and lifting."

Is it too outrageous for someone whose biggest claim to football fame is his senior season in high school, when he rushed for more than 2,000 yards and set a metro-area record with 37 touchdowns, to be talking about the NFL? Apparently not, since representatives of the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots have come by to see him this week, and others are expected.

Still, it's a long shot, considering he's listed as the 58th-rated running back in the country in Mel Kiper's 1996 draft preview. But all Washington is asking for is a chance.


Frostburg sophomore Karen Carpenter finished in eighth place in the 170-runner ECAC Division III women's championship, covering the 5,000-meter course in 19:58. Sophomore Pete Smith paced Frostburg in the men's meet, coming in 11th out of 175 runners with a time of 27:33 over 8,000 meters. . . . Loyola junior forward Lynn Albert, 6 feet 1, was named to the preseason All-MAAC women's basketball second team. . . . Bowie State's Brandey Lemons and Yolanda Matthews (Milford Mill) were chosen to the preseason All-CIAA women's basketball team. . . .

Led by senior Shari Mark, who placed 22nd, Towson State's women's cross country team finished tied for sixth with Northeastern in the NAC championship meet in Boston. The men placed seventh, led by senior Eric Estrada (Edgewood), who came in 14th. . . . Towson State's volleyball team won 17 of its last 21 matches going into the NAC tournament at Hofstra. . . . Bryan Gunning was Villa Julie's top runner at the NCAA Division III Mideast regional meet in Carlisle, Pa., placing 117th at 28:56.64. Matt Johnson came in 201st at 31:37.57, followed by Michael Sokoloff in 212th at 32:06.18, Matthew Barnes in 230th at 35:11.22 and Stephen Scammacca in 236th at 38:39.64.

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