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Washington just hitting his stride

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Terrance Washington, who suffered a torn ACL his senior year at Ben Lomond High, has come up big for the Aggies this season.

Terrance Washington, who suffered a torn ACL his senior year at Ben Lomond High, has come up big for the Aggies this season.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning News

LOGAN — Terrance Washington's senior football season at Ben Lomond High started with tremendous promise.

He rushed for 226 yards, which included a 73-yard touchdown, on 29 carries in the Scots' 21-6 win over South Summit to open the 2001 season.

He followed that performance one week later with a pair of touchdown runs in a 28-27 double-overtime victory over Class 4A Roy.

College recruiters were knocking at his door from Utah and Utah State. Utah State coach Mick Dennehy was encouraged by Emmett White, a Ben Lomond alum, to recruit Washington.

Against Judge Memorial, Washington suffered a torn ACL in what he called a normal tackle on a run off-tackle, and his bright high-school future was over. The injury also cast a shadow of doubt over his college career.

He began bracing himself for the worst.

"My parents were really behind me. I would try to work for it and if it wasn't there I would fall back onto something else," he said. "My dad always told me that grades were most important and that (an injury) could happen at any time and you have to have something to fall back on."

Without Washington the Scots, who were 2-0 at the time of his injury, lost eight of their last nine games, including a 7-6 loss to Ogden. A win there would have pushed the Scots into the playoffs.

Washington's injury seemed to discourage Utah, but Utah State still pursued him. Surgery soon followed as well as intense rehabilitation.

"He didn't have a lot of film his senior year and I think that scared people off," Dennehy said. "We were fairly convinced that we would have a good young guy if everything healed up correctly."

Five months after surgery he was cleared to play in the Scots' last seven basketball games. He averaged just under four points a game.

Upon his return, the Scots won four straight and finished 5-2 in their last seven. In the Scots' 60-56 loss to Wasatch in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs, Washington poured in 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

He was back.

"That (the thought of not playing again) hit me," Washington said. "That's why I'm so happy to be playing now. I thank God and He gave me another chance and Utah State gave me another chance."

Dennehy followed Washington's rehabilitation and return process and eventually offered him a scholarship.

"We were convinced in watching him we had another Emmett White," Dennehy said. "He's a good kick returner and did everything for them (the Scots). He played wideout, cornerback and running back."

After redshirting his freshman year with the Aggies, Washington has settled in and has started the Aggies' first three games as safety.

"He's a really bright kid. He picked things up really well," Dennehy said. "He understands concepts and they make sense to him. He's probably as comfortable back there as anybody. That's an amazing thing for a freshman in college."

Currently he leads the Aggies with two interceptions and is second in tackles with 24.

"It's getting fun now," Washington said of playing defense. "(We have a) new coach and new scheme. We're starting to buy into it and starting to improve."

The year off gave him added time to heal and learn the defense. Now, according to Dennehy, the sky is the limit.

"He's going to be an outstanding player. He's going to get a lot more physical as time goes on," Dennehy said. "He's going to be a dominating player I believe."

E-mail: jhinton@desnews.com