Just as he wears many hats on the football field, Central High School’s Xavier Washington warrants multiple aliases for his striking style of play.
X-Factor, Hit Man, The Adjuster.
Central coach Bryson Rosser would add one more pseudonym to Washington’s litany of alter egos.
“There’s no telling who he will be, but if I had to give him one name it would be ‘playmaker,’” said Rosser, whose streaking Bobcats (9-2) host Daniel Boone (9-2) at 7 p.m. Friday in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs.
A victory puts Central opposite the winner of the Tennessee High-David Crockett game in next week’s quarterfinals.
The Bobcats have won nine games in a row and are attempting to advance to the third round of the playoffs for the third consecutive season.
Washington, a 5-foot-10½, 200-pound senior with a well-earned reputation as an enforcer, has been a big reason for Central’s recent turnaround since Rosser was named coach in 2014.
While Washington is known by most for his physical play, Rosser said it’s what’s between the ears that separates the cerebral team leader from most.
“Xavier is a football junkie,” said Rosser.
“As a player, the thing that stands out is his football IQ. Xavier’s dad is a football coach and he’s a football kid. He has a high GPA, high ACT and he’s really receptive to input. He makes all the checks for us on defense. He’s the adjuster.”
It starts with defense at Central
Washington is the linchpin of a salty and physical Central defense that allows just 9.7 points per game.
He leads the Bobcats in total (100) and solo (74) tackles. Washington also has a team-high 20 tackles for loss to go with six sacks, two interceptions and two caused fumbles.
“The best part of my game is run support and playing in the box,” said Washington.
That’s where his dedication to a student-of-the-game mentality comes into play.
To become a more complete defensive back, Washington said he immerses himself in Xs and Os.
“I see certain things other people don’t see,” offered Washington.
“I try and look at things from the offensive side of the ball so I can take my game to another level.”
Washington constantly picks the brain of Rosser, a former college player at Tennessee State, to get inside the thought process of playing quarterback.
“As a former college quarterback, I can give him an offensive viewpoint,” said Rosser.
Waiting for more offers
Washington has been a starter for almost four seasons, and he’s regarded as one of the best defensive backs in the 5Star Preps coverage area and the state.
Yet, only four schools have tendered scholarship offers, including Austin-Peay and Tennessee Tech.
“We’re shocked at the lack of recruiting, but we’re excited about the guys who are recruiting him,” offered Rosser.
Washington acknowledges that his lack of height is an issue with many at the next level.
Other factors, according to Rosser, are the demands of playing defensive back and being involved in coverage in college against pass-happy offenses.
“It (playing defensive back) is really about specifics when you get on the Division-I level,” explained Rosser.
“Every situation is a little different. A lot of schools look to run man-to-man schemes, and in our scheme we don’t play a lot of man. I think (Washington) could play man to man on slot receivers in college.”
If Central continues with its recent tradition of playing deep into the postseason, Rosser said he’s confident more schools will sit up and take notice of Washington.
“It’s not about how you start, but how you finish,” said Rosser.
“We think some good things are going to come out of the fourth quarter of recruiting for Xavier.”