Muleshoe senior Cooper Washington hopes the Mules can continue the success this season they’ve enjoyed in his previous two campaigns on the varsity. A big step awaits him next year.
The 6-foot-5, 230-pounder has verbally committed to the University of Oklahoma for next season as a defensive end. He’s looking forward to the challenge.
“I’m pumped for it,” Washington said. “I’m nervous, too, but I’m ready for it.”
Washington helped the Mules go 15-0 and win the Class 2A Division I state championship in 2008. They extended their winning streak to 25, winning their first 10 games in 2009 before losing to Amarillo River Road in the first round of the playoffs.
This year, after playing wide receiver on offense for the Mules in the past, he’s expected to be the team’s quarterback.
“I played it in junior high and my freshman year,” Washington said. “I was (the backup) behind Jared (Skipworth) last year. I think I can handle it.”
Wherever he plays, the Mules are counting on him to come through big-time.
“He needs to step up and be one of the leaders for us,” Mules coach David Wood said. “We’re expecting him to have a big year. He’s definitely got the tools.”
Washington isn’t sure whether he’ll be asked to redshirt next season. Wood acknowledged that he’ll have to put on some weight to compete at the major college level.
“Whether he’s going to step in and play the first year, who knows?” Wood said. “They’ve certainly seen something in him to offer (an athletic scholarship) so early.”
Washington, who had 57 tackles, six sacks and two forced fumbles last season, is rated by rivals.com as the No. 48 player in Texas. He is the top-rated weakside defensive end in Texas and No. 15 in the nation at that position.
Only two players from the Texas Panhandle-South Plains are in rival.com’s top 100 players in Texas.
For now, though, Washington wants to focus on trying to help the Mules make another deep playoff run.
“I’m trying to keep my mind on this season,” he said. “We’re wanting to go back to state. We just want to take one game at a time.”
Wood said the Mules may have another college candidate in Sergio Montejano, a 6-foot-3, 279-pound two-way lineman.
“He’s getting a lot of looks from Division II or possibly I-AA,” Wood said. “Some people are saying he could go (high) Division I.”
Another possible area college prospect is Clovis Christian senior Mike Urioste. A running back and safety for the Eagles, CCS coach Jason Swann said some Division II schools are looking at Urioste as a possible slot receiver.