Oklahoma football: Talkative defensive end R.J. Washington ready for his close-up

The Sooners' defensive end is always smiling and always talking. As a senior, he'll be seeing more time in the spotlight this season.
by Stephanie Kuzydym Published: August 12, 2012
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It's just him, in a pair of gray shorts, standing in the water and the camera guy.

Even the camera shook a little from the camera guy laughing.

Washington and fellow defensive end David King are known on the team for their personalities and, honestly, Mike Stoops finds it enjoyable to be around.

“They talk,” Stoops said. “They're just great charismatic people. They're fun to be around guys that talk other than football.”

The No. 1 high school defensive end in the nation coming to Norman in 2008, Washington was supposed to shine for the Sooners. Five falls later, he's played in 26 games but hasn't started one. He served as the backup defensive end to Frank Alexander and Ronnell Lewis, both now in the NFL. Washington only has 23 career tackles to his name.

This fall, he's on track to experience his first start and if it's up to him, he'll make all the cameras and bright lights turn toward him and the defense for play that once earned them a high reputation.

His talk isn't arrogant. Far from it. It's an excited and positive outlook on life that he tries to pass to everyone around him. Despite the laughing and the jokes, Washington does take his job seriously. As one coach put it, they're all in survival mode right now.

“This is our last go-around,” Washington said. “This is it. I'm going from spending every day with these guys to not seeing them at all, so I'm trying to make it the best year I can possibly have.”

by Stephanie Kuzydym
Reporter
Stephanie Kuzydym learned at a young age that life is a game of inches. That's just one reason why she loves football. Kuzydym joined The Oklahoman in July 2012. Before arriving in the state, Kuzydym was an intern for the sports departments at...
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