NEW ORLEANS — For most defensive backs in Louisiana, Tyrann Mathieu is an obvious role model.
Such is also the case for newly minted LSU defensive back commit Ar’Darius Washington, who gave his pledge to the Tigers along with Evangel (La.) Academy teammates Davin Cotton and Micah Baskerville at the “Boys From The Boot” event a month ago.
Like Mathieu, who is more affectionately known as the “Honey Badger,” Washington doesn’t have intimidating height. He’s 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds, and he is as a 3-star recruit in composition rankings by 247Sports.
Coming out of St. Augustine (La.) in New Orleans, Mathieu was in a similar spot. Mathieu, then a 4-star recruit, measured at 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds.
The similarities run even deeper than that. Washington is expected to take on similar responsibilities to what Mathieu held when he was in Baton Rouge from 2010-13. That’s what Washington conversations with LSU defensive backs coach Corey Raymond centered on since he committed on Feb. 18.
“He keeps telling me to keep working and we talk about what position I’ll be playing,” Washington told SEC Country. “Basically, I’ll be like Tyrann Mathieu, and that’s special.”
Raymond did not provide specifics — yet — but Washington drew comparisons to Mathieu since his days playing pee-wee football, according to fellow Shreveport-area recruits Terrace Marshall Jr. and Justin Rogers, who are also being courted by the Tigers.
One month in, Washington’s commitment to LSU remains firm. He has not reported other offers and indicated that he has a budding confidence in his relationship with his future position coach.
“It’s getting there,” Washington said. “It’s been building since I committed. Now, it’s good.”
Washington secured an offer from the Tigers on the morning of his visit and didn’t require much convincing after that.
The dynamic defensive back was surprised by the atmosphere in Baton Rouge and the attention he received from Ed Orgeron and the coaching staff. Doing so with his teammates Cotton and Baskerville only strengthened his decision.
“Man, it was a lot of love down there,” Washington said. “The way they were, the way they acted toward us, they just showed love. They were excited about the three of us coming in, and you know Coach O, hold that Tiger!”
Washington’s commitment bumped the total numbers of defensive backs in LSU’s 2018 recruiting class to four.
A Shreveport native, Washington is listed as a cornerback but plays all over the Evangel secondary. At LSU, he’ll slide into the aforementioned “Honey Badger” role, which will involve lining up in the nickel and at safety, particularly when Raymond gets to place extra defensive backs on the field.
His junior season highlights — which culminated in a Division I state championship — display Washington’s uncanny nose for the football and absurdly athletic plays in the secondary. To be able to continue in that role at LSU is a unique opportunity.
“It’s special,” Washington said.