Ironton’s Washington picks UK


All-Ohio LB signs NLI for SEC program

By Paul Boggs - pboggs@aimmediamidwest.com



Ironton High School senior Angelo Washington, seated center left, announces his intention to play college football for the University of Kentucky. Seated with Washington are, from left, stepfather Jermaine Keyes, mother Rebecca Troisi, father Kenneth Washington, brother Jaquez Keyes and brother Jermaine Keyes, Jr. Standing are, from left, uncle Isaiah Keyes, cousin Emmett Keyes and uncle Curtis Keyes.  

Ironton High School senior Angelo Washington, seated center left, announces his intention to play college football for the University of Kentucky. Seated with Washington are, from left, stepfather Jermaine Keyes, mother Rebecca Troisi, father Kenneth Washington, brother Jaquez Keyes and brother Jermaine Keyes, Jr. Standing are, from left, uncle Isaiah Keyes, cousin Emmett Keyes and uncle Curtis Keyes.  


Paul Boggs | Daily Times

IRONTON — For University of Kentucky football fans in the Scioto Valley, you might want to keep your eyes — and ears — open on Ironton’s Angelo Washington.

That’s because Washington, the two-year Fighting Tiger defensive stalwart and 2021 Southeast District Division V Co-Defensive Player of the Year, will continue his education and football career at the collegiate level —as he recently signed a National Letter-of-Intent to play for the UK Wildcats.

Washington was one of two Ironton standouts to ink with Football Bowl Subdivision schools during the early signing period, which officially ended two weeks ago —as Ashton Duncan to Miami (Ohio) University is the other.

Kentucky plays in the rugged and highly-regarded Southeastern Conference —that same SEC East Division as Georgia, and in the same overall league as Alabama.

Alabama, in fact, has been the top overall FBS program in the past decade-plus.

Let that sink in Ironton and Southeastern Ohio football fans for just a minute — as Washington will be living out a young man’s athletic dream.

“It’s crazy. I never thought I would be right here and going to the University of Kentucky to play college football. But here I am and it’s a great moment,” he said.

Washington, a July 2020 transfer to Ironton from Mize High School in Mississippi, was automatically first-team Division V all-Ohio as a linebacker — as a result of him earning POY honors at the district level.

He shared the top Division V defensive accolade with Fighting Tiger teammate Nate Cochran, who was a defensive lineman.

The six-foot and one-inch and 225-pound senior Washington was a two-year Fighting Tiger starter, and excelled especially this past season — when he made the move to outside linebacker.

He was a relative role player on a dominant defense which returned to a second consecutive Division V state championship tilt in 2020, but with the graduation of Reid Carrico —the Ohio Mr. Football runner-up and who committed to Ohio State —Washington was able to truly make a name for himself.

He said he received a preferred walk-on offer at Marshall University; took game visits to Marshall, Louisville and Pittsburgh; and had offers from Morehead State and West Virginia State.

However, a game visit to UK against Tennessee-Chattanooga changed — or rather solidified — his decision.

“When I went down to UK for that game visit, the environment was great and I knew this was the one,” said Washington, without hesitation.

He said he plans to play linebacker for the Wildcats, which will have a new linebackers position coach —and where there is position depth.

“They have some linebackers on their roster, so I know it’s going to be competitive. But my goal is to play linebacker, and get on the field for defense and/or special teams my first year,” said Washington.

He admitted it will be a new experience, but an exciting one he hopes, just like his move from southeastern Mississippi and Mize to Ironton.

His first year at Ironton ended with a state runner-up, as the Fighting Tigers then went 11-2 in his senior campaign —which included another Ohio Valley Conference championship and Region 19 semifinal berth.

“It was a new experience, and something I hadn’t experienced before. A winning program, and every night having a chance to win. Going to the state championship game, never been that far before. It was a great experience. We wanted to win that game of course, but I left it all out there,” said Washington. “Coming up here from Mississippi was one of the best things that’s happened to me. Coming up to a new place and making new friends and meeting new people. It’s given me this great opportunity and I’ve enjoyed every second I’ve been here. I owe Ironton. It’s been great.”

As was Ironton’s often airtight defensive unit of the past three seasons.

In fact, the Fighting Tigers’ defense has surrendered more than three touchdowns in one game just twice in three years —last season’s state championship tilt against Kirtland, and against Division I powerhouse Cincinnati Moeller (25 points) in their only regular-season loss this fall.

This past season, the Fighting Tigers only allowed 106 total points in 13 games.

“Angelo is an extremely hard worker, tremendous football player and a really good kid. Just a positive role model in the community, and the reward of him having the opportunity to go play college football means a lot, not only for him but also his family and our program. He came in here the last two years and just gelled and became one of the guys,” said Ironton coach Trevon Pendleton. “Even though he has only been here two years, from an outside perspective, you would never know it. I am excited for him and can’t wait to see what his next chapter holds.”

That next chapter, in fact, is competing in the brutal world of the SEC.

But, Washington does indeed look forward to it.

“It’s exciting and it’s a great challenge. But I love a challenge. Just moving up here, the challenge was to start last year (2020). This year, the challenge was move to a new position and play linebacker,” he said. “I think I did it pretty good. On a great team defense too. My D-line was amazing, and the back end was strong. It was easy to transfer over to linebacker and do what I needed to do.”

Washington will major in Kinesiology, and said he plans “to stay around the sport” once his playing days have concluded.

Ironton High School senior Angelo Washington, seated center left, announces his intention to play college football for the University of Kentucky. Seated with Washington are, from left, stepfather Jermaine Keyes, mother Rebecca Troisi, father Kenneth Washington, brother Jaquez Keyes and brother Jermaine Keyes, Jr. Standing are, from left, uncle Isaiah Keyes, cousin Emmett Keyes and uncle Curtis Keyes.  
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2021/12/web1_Angelo-Washington-Signing-.jpgIronton High School senior Angelo Washington, seated center left, announces his intention to play college football for the University of Kentucky. Seated with Washington are, from left, stepfather Jermaine Keyes, mother Rebecca Troisi, father Kenneth Washington, brother Jaquez Keyes and brother Jermaine Keyes, Jr. Standing are, from left, uncle Isaiah Keyes, cousin Emmett Keyes and uncle Curtis Keyes.   Paul Boggs | Daily Times
All-Ohio LB signs NLI for SEC program

By Paul Boggs

pboggs@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at pboggs@aimmediamidwest.com, or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at pboggs@aimmediamidwest.com, or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved