Versatile DL Washington blossoms during spring ball for Western Illinois

Versatile DL Washington blossoms during spring ball for Western Illinois

Defensive lineman Cam Washington (25) was a standout this spring and expects to play a big role in 2022 for Western Illinois. (Photo by GoLeathernecks.com)

MACOMB – With only 24 defensive players on the roster this spring, plenty of new faces could be in the lineup Sept. 1 when Western Illinois opens the 2022 football season at Tennessee Martin.

One constant for the Leathernecks, however, is likely to be Cam Washington, the senior defensive lineman who earned plenty of praise Friday from the team’s new coaching staff.

“Cam Washington is a guy who I feel great about playing any of our defensive line spots,” WIU head coach Myers Hendrickson said after the Leathernecks’ annual spring game. “He’s had a great spring. Cam is a super smart football player.”

Washington showed off his flexibility this spring, playing all three spots along the defensive front, including strong play at nose tackle.

“The nose is the most comfortable position for me. I will say that,” Washington told Prairie State Pigskin. “I definitely learned the other two spots. You can put me anywhere and I’ll still perform.”

The 6-foot-4, 295-pound Washington appeared in 10 games last fall, starting twice, and compiled seven total tackles and a sack.

On Friday, he stuffed a run play for a safety. But halting opposing running backs won’t be his only job this fall.

“(My role) is definitely defined,” Washington said. “Instead of being more of just a run stopper and being someone on first and second down, I’m finding more roles on first and second and third down, and sometimes even fourth down.”

Cam Washington

Washington said the team likely will “shake it up” on defense, using both 4-3 and 3-4 defensive front alignments. Regardless of the front, Washington said he expects to make an impact.

“This scheme allows me to play more aggressively,” he said. “I’m able to play straight-ahead football and play that physical style that I’m capable of playing instead of having to think all the time.”

In a new-look defensive backfield, senior cornerback JJ Ross is returning after starting 10 games in 2021, when he led WIU with six passes defended and collected 35 tackles.

“I feel like I’ve gotten a lot better,” said Ross, who began his career at Eastern Illinois. “Tackling, for sure.”

Though the WIU roster was limited this spring, Ross and the Leathernecks got plenty accomplished.

“We still worked,” he said. “We didn’t make any excuses. Whatever opportunities we had, we just got better.”

Advertisement:
Advertisement:

Welcome to ChicagoNow.

Meet
our bloggers,

post comments, or

pitch your blog idea.

Meet The Blogger

Dan Verdun

Blog co-authors Barry Bottino and Dan Verdun bring years of experience covering collegiate athletics. Barry has covered college athletes for more than two decades in his “On Campus” column, which is published weekly by Shaw Media. Dan has written four books about the state’s football programs–“NIU Huskies Football” (released in 2013), “EIU Panthers Football (2014), “ISU Redbirds” (2016) and “SIU Salukis Football” (2017).

Subscribe by Email

Completely spam free, opt out any time.

Latest on ChicagoNow

I did it!

from Looking for the Good by Susan Schulhof
posted today at 6:13 pm

Case Shiller: Strongest Growth In Chicago Area Home Prices In More Than 3 Decades

from Getting Real by Gary Lucido
posted today at 1:29 pm

Objects in Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago

from Show Me Chicago by Carole Kuhrt Brewer
posted today at 9:42 am

On the fortieth anniversary of my father’s death, there’s still room for gratitude

from I’ve Got The Hippy Shakes by Howard Moore
posted today at 6:11 am

Spring game takeaways spotlight EIU defensive goal for fall season

from Prairie State Pigskin by Dan Verdun
posted today at 5:30 am

Read these ChicagoNow blogs

Cubs Den

Chicago Cubs news and comprehensive blog, featuring old school baseball writing combined with the latest statistical trends

Pets in need of homes

Pets available for adoption in the Chicago area

Hammervision

It’s like the couch potato version of Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
Advertisement:

About ChicagoNow

FAQs

Advertise

Recent posts RSS

Privacy policy (Updated)

Comment policy

Terms of service

Chicago Tribune Archives

Do not sell my personal info

©2022 CTMG – A Chicago Tribune website –
Crafted by the News Apps team

Read More

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.