The Horned Frogs will be likely be down at least three defensive starters when they step back on a football field, as edshirt sophomore Ar’Darius Washington announced Tuesday that he was forgoing his remaining eligibility to prepare for the NFL Draft. He join senior Garret Wallow and Pro Wells among those exiting the TCU Football program following the 2020 campaign, with junior safety Trevon Moehrig expected to follow later this week.
Washington is a difference-maker at the safety position, a veritable game changer who seems to always be around the ball. Compared often to the Honey Badger, Tyrann Mathieu, for overcoming small stature with toughness and a knack for making big plays, the 5’8”, 178 pound prospect has made a name for himself amongst the draft pundits for his tackling ability, high football IQ, and athleticism at the position. He is rated a top 100 player on several draft boards, and some scribes consider him the second-best safety available in the draft — behind his teammate, Trevon Moehrig.
Washington redshirted in his first year on campus after matriculating to Fort Worth from Shreveport, LA, playing in four games and recording three tackles. He had a breakout campaign in 2019, leading the Frogs with five interceptions, recording 46 tackles and breaking up seven passes on his way to being named the Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year. He was also given FWAA and The Athletic Freshman All-American honors. Following the season, Pro Football Focus had him rated as the second-highest graded safety in the nation in 2019.
His production slowed some in 2020, as teams made the wise choice to avoid him as much as possible. In the abbreviated ten game season, he recorded just 37 tackles and no interceptions, but did have five PBUs.
A team leader and fan favorite, Washington may have been eager to leave TCU early after suffering a scary injury at West Virginia in November. He was down for several minutes after going helmet to knee against a Mountaineer player, though he was able to recover quickly and did not miss any additional playing time following TCU’s loss in Morgantown.
Expected to be a day two pick — likely late second or early third round — Washington is praised for his anticipation, ability to read the QBs eyes, and awareness. He is a fluid athlete who can change directions on a dime and isn’t afraid of contact. He will make some team really happy at the next level.