Corey Washington had it all planned out. Well at least he thought he did, back when he was a sophomore at North Charleston High School. Two more years of high school football, and then off to play big-time college football he thought. But unfortunately things did not go as planned for the gifted pass catcher out of North Charleston, SC. The story is quite simple, and it is one that has been told over and over; academic ineligibility.
Back in the fall of 2007 when Washington was just a 10th grader, the 6-4 target showed much promise on the football field as a wideout for the Cougars, hauling in 31 catches for over 400 yards. After displaying a boatload of potential as a sophomore, Corey along with several natives from the city of North Charleston was expecting for his junior season to be his breakout year. But unfortunately, Washington’s junior season never got off the ground. His grades had suffered so poorly in the 10th grade to where he had found himself in a very uncomfortable situation by the time his junior season had come around.
“I was ineligible,” Washington said. “I had to sit out my entire junior season. During my 10th grade year I played around in class and didn’t get my work done. I really didn’t take my school work very serious at the time. So basically at the end of my 10th grade year I came up a couple of credits short, and was ineligible for the whole season.”
Watching from the stands was very painful for the former Low Country star to say the very least. “I was very disappointed in myself,” Washington said. “All I could do was watch. Whenever my team was struggling on the field, there was nothing I could do about it. I was hurt. I felt like I’d let my teammates down. Most importantly, I felt like I’d let myself down.”
“Coach Brown never gave up on me. He saw something in me. He really stayed on me. He got me a couple of tutors, and kept me after school several days to make sure my work was getting done.” - Corey Washington
After being absent from the football field his entire junior season, Corey was determined that nothing was going to hinder him from suiting up his senior year. So out of sheer desperation, Washington went beyond the call of duty to make sure he was in good standings academically for his final season with the Cougars. “I worked real hard in the classroom my junior year,” said Washington. “I was determined to get back on the field my senior year.”
Corey’s determination coupled with a little assistance from his former high school football coach, Jimmy Brown, helped him to gain eligibility status for his senior season. “Coach Brown never gave up on me,” Washington said. “He saw something in me. He really stayed on me. He got me a couple of tutors, and kept me after school several days to make sure my work was getting done.”
When Washington learned that he had been cleared academically and that he could play football his senior year, he was very ecstatic to say the least. He simply could not wait to get back on the field to do his thing. It appeared that his hunger/passion had grown much fonder for the game he loved so much. And it showed in every practice and in every game. The big play receiver finished out his senior season with 33 receptions for 1,081yards and 19 touchdowns.
At the conclusion of the ’09 season, Washington had received a number of awards/accolades, including an invitation to the 62nd Annual North/South All-Star Game. Knowing it was his last time to shine on the high school level, Corey was determined to go out with a bang. And he did just that. The 2009 All-Star finished out the game with 3 receptions for 100 yards, and was on the receiving end of a 57 yard touchdown strike.
Corey’s stellar senior season on the field had opened up the eyes of several major programs from around the country. Schools like Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Notre Dame amongst several others expressed genuine interest in the gifted wideout. But nevertheless, none of them offered due to the fact that he had fallen a little short of reaching NCAA eligibility status. However though, there was still hope for Mr. Washington, and it came in the form of an athletic scholarship from Georgia Military College, a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association. “Man, I was very excited when I got the news,” Washington said grinning from ear to ear. “I knew that a scholarship to GMC would give me a second chance in life; a chance to get a college education and another chance to play college football.”
After signing his letter of intent with Georgia Military College, Corey directed his focus solely towards graduating from high School. On this past May, his mission was accomplished.
Shortly after graduating from high school, Corey reported to GMC for summer school to get an early start on his classes. Needless to say, it was all business for this determined young man. Washington’s hard work inside the classroom during his latter high school days apparently parlayed over into junior college. At the conclusion of the summer semester, Washington had reported a 3.29 GPA.
“Man, I was very excited when I got the news. I knew that a scholarship to GMC would give me a second chance in life; a chance to get a college education and another chance to play college football.” – Corey Washington
Evidently, some of that success has been carried over to the football field as well. Currently the 6-4, 205 pound wideout is starting for the Bulldogs, and has been making his presence known on the field early this fall. So far this season, the freshman wideout has caught 11 passes for 192 yards and has scored 4 touchdowns.
Corey appears to be on the right track. He admits that he has a totally different outlook on life, and realizes that he is truly blessed to have another opportunity to pursue his dreams/goals. He is very grateful for a second chance at life and has been making the most of it to say the very least.
In closing, the proud Mr. Washington left us with a few words that he’d like to share with high school athletes who have aspirations of becoming collegiate athletes someday.
“Always work hard on and off the field, because hard work pays off in the end. Don’t try to take the easy way out in life. Never give up on your dreams, and never settle for less. Keep going after it, and try to be the best that you can be.” – Corey Washington