Bring the cameras, the recorders and the bright lights.
R.J. Washington is ready for his close-up.
He's been a talker since high school, and if there's one thing to know about the senior defensive end, it's this: he likes to talk.
“Sometimes it's annoying,” defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland said shaking his head.
The first thought when McFarland hears Washington talking? “Here he goes again.”
During OU Media Day, Washington, a 6-foot-3, 256-pound Fort Worth native, spent close to an hour with reporters. Most guys stay for 10 to 15 minutes. Reporters walked away from him laughing, grabbed quotes from other guys and then came back to hear more.
Washington also shoots a weekly video for Sooner Vision, OU Athletics' video team. Topics have ranged from why it's important to arrive extremely early for practice to what it's like hitting the cold tub.
“Usually, you sit in here for about five minutes, which is an eternity if you're that cold,” Washington said as he entered the cold tub and immediately started to shiver. “You also have to get waist deep and I don't do cold to well, because I'm from Texas.”
The whole time Washington's talking to the camera, he's smiling. He loves the focus. And that smile, he always wears that smile — whether the object in front of him is a lens or a microphone, he exudes passion for Oklahoma football.
“You'll be sittin' here like, ‘Man get in.' They'll be sitting on the steps. ‘Man, get in.'”
Then Washington dropped his voice to mimic his coach. “‘Get in. I'm not startin' the clock ‘til he get in.'” Then Washington started to beg, “‘C'mon man, just get in.'”
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.”