Perhaps no player benefited from Mississippi State’s strength, conditioning and nutrition programs last year as much as Tim Washington.
The lanky 6-foot-3 linebacker arrived on the Bulldogs’ campus last summer weighing only 185-pounds. But in a year’s time, Washington has packed on 40 pounds and enters his redshirt freshman season tipping the scales at 225.
“It was a good decision for me because I came in at 185 so I needed to learn what it takes to be in this program and how hard you have to work to play,” Washington said. “Me being redshirted wasn’t a bad thing.”
Washington comes into the fall battling fellow redshirt freshman Leo Lewis for one of the inside linebacker positions in MSU’s new 3-4 defense orchestrated by coordinator Peter Sirmon.
“I just come out and compete every day,” Washington said. “You’ve got two of us, me and Leo, on the same side and both are very talented. It’s just a friendly competition between us two.”
Washington started learning the new defensive scheme this past spring. However, his role hasn’t changed much from the previous regime.
“It’s not that different than what I did in coach (Manny) Diaz‘s defense,” Washington said. “I just have to learn all of the new terms and the new defenses.”
Washington appreciates Sirmon’s approach to coaching and also likes his pedigree as a linebacker with the Tennessee Titans to help pass along the knowledge to help him follow in his footsteps to the NFL.
“Working for coach Sirmon as a player is a big honor,” Washington said. “He coaches us well and shows us the correct techniques. He can bring us up during bad situations if we’re having problems. Learning from a guy that’s been in the NFL is an honor. You want to be coached by somebody that’s been there before so they can get you there and put you on the right path.”
Washington is already seeing results from all of his hard work. During the Bulldogs three spring scrimmages, he tallied 17 tackles including three for loss, one sack and one interception. He made seven of those stops in the spring game.
Washington was rated the No. 9 prospect in Mississippi as a high school senior but only saw limited action due to Yazoo City’s seven-game season in 2014. The former three-star prospect still made 50 tackles including 11 for loss and six sacks.
“It was a lot different transitioning from high school to college,” Washington said. “You’ve got to adjust to the workouts, running, lifting weights and hard coaching. Even putting shoulder pads on was a big transition because guys are bigger and faster.”
Washington chose State over offers from Kentucky, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisville and Ole Miss and is proud to be a Bulldog.
“I’ve been very happy I chose this school,” Washington said. “It was a good choice for me and my family. It’s where I fit at and I made the right decision.”