Dre'lyn Washington

Hemphill High (Texas) running back Dre'lyn Washington, showing off his strength here, joins Carencro's Kendrell Williams as UL's second running back verbal commitment  

First, it was Tyrell Fenroy with four straight 1,000-yard seasons.

Then came the 1-2 punch of Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris.

Most recently, it was the dynamic trio of Elijah Mitchell, Trey Ragas and Raymond Calais.

Calais just signed his first pro contract as the seventh round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mitchell and Ragas, meanwhile, are preparing for the senior season and are already on the national watch lists.

Don’t think a high school running back like Dre’lyn Washington hasn’t paid attention.

In fact, Washington said the recent tradition of Ragin' Cajuns running backs played a big role in his decision earlier this month to commit to UL.

“It made me think a lot about what going there could do for me and about what they could do to help me make it out (into NFL) from there,” Washington said.

Like  many of UL’s commitments, the other primary factor is the staff’s exuberant approach to recruiting.

“I really felt loved by the coaches, and I just liked all the support they’ve given me,” Washington said.

Washington had offers from Arkansas State and Lamar, but said he only seriously considered UL.

“For me, it was just the Ragin’ Cajuns,” he said.

It’s not hard to see what UL’s coaches saw in Washington. While he’s not the prototypical running back physically — standing 5-foot-9 and weighing 200 pounds — Washington sports impressive credentials.

In addition to rushing for almost 2,000 yards and 28 touchdowns as a junior at Hemphill High School in Texas, Washington possesses elite track speed, timed at 11.13 seconds in the 100-meter dash and 22.95 in the 200.

He combines that speed with a powerfully built body.

“I’m like a balanced running back,” he said. “I’m both. I’m a power back and I’m a speed back. I’m a back that’s explosively quick.”

Washington said football has always been his top sport.

“I was already a football guy when I was like 5 or 6 years old,” he said.

In those days he was a Saints fan, thanks largely to versatile running back Reggie Bush.

These days, Washington admits he’s shifted his allegiance to the New York Giants because of his idol Saquan Barkley.

“Saquon is my boy,” Washington said. “I want to be like him.”

The closer he gets to that level, the closer Washington will be to fulfilling his goal of extending UL’s growing running back legacy.

He's the Cajuns’ second running back commitment, joining Carencro’s Kendrell Williams.

Washington is the eighth commitment in UL’s 2021 signing class, also along with Ridgeland, Mississippi, quarterback Zy McDonald; Iowa safety Cejae Ceasar; Logansport cornerback Key’Savalyn Barnes; Ouachita Christian quarterback Hunter Herring; Pflugerville, Texas, wide receiver Jaden Williams; and East Mississippi Community College linebacker Jasper Williams.

Email Kevin Foote at kfoote@theadvocate.com.