5-Star Darnell Washington Signs Early, Waiting to Reveal

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    Tennessee’s top remaining target in the 2020 recruiting class has apparently signed with a team. He’s just not saying which team yet.

    Five-star tight end Darnell Washington originally planned on signing during the early signing period this past week and keeping it quiet until the All-American Game on January 2nd. Then on Tuesday of this week, he tweeted out that he would, in fact, not be signing this week after all.

    But then on Wednesday, Washington tweeted out a paper emoji and a pen emoji, seeming to signal that he had actually signed with a team and hadn’t revealed which team.

    On Friday night, Washington confirmed that.

    The 6-foot-7, 260-pound tight end was in attendance Friday night at the GEICO State Champions Bowl Series game pitting Marietta High School — led by four-star quarterback and Vol signee Harrison Bailey — and Eastern Catholic High School. The game took place at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, and Washington plays for Desert Pines in Las Vegas.

    At halftime of the game, Washington joined the ESPNU crew to discuss his recruitment and the game at hand. The commentators pointed out LSU signee and fellow five-star tight end Arik Gilbert of Marietta in the game and mentioned that Washington is the top-rated uncommitted prospect left in the 2020 class.

    Washington quickly corrected them.

    “I put the pen to the paper, too. I just didn’t announce,” Washington stated. “Just January 2nd, that’s when it’ll come out.”

    The five-star tight end had a final five of Tennessee, Georgia, Miami, Alabama, and Florida heading into the early signing period, so one of those five teams likely got his signature. But the public won’t know which of those teams he signed with until January 2nd. Which, ironically, is the same day as Tennessee’s bowl game against Indiana in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl.

    Washington is the No. 10 overall prospect and No. 1 athlete in the 2020 class per the 247Sports Composite rankings. He participated in Nike’s The Opening Finals over the summer and, as previously mentioned, will be in the All-American Game on January 2nd.

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    The Vols hosted Washington on an official visit on December 13th, getting his last official visit before he made his decision on where to sign. UT also hosted him on an unofficial visit in November, and he’s made half a dozen trips to Knoxville throughout his recruitment. Washington took official visits to the other four schools among his finalists, too.

    Tennessee currently has 21 signees in their 2020 class from the early signing period. The Vols’ class ranks No. 15 in the country on 247Sports, and UT didn’t sign any tight end prospects among those 21 recruits on Wednesday.

    As a side note, Harrison Bailey and Marietta won the contest against Eastern Catholic High School 53-14. Bailey threw for 410 yards and six touchdowns, all in the first half.