Football players are getting out early to compete at camps and it is paying off.
They are improving, they are getting reps against great competition, and D'Andre Gardenhire-Washington did both of things before leaving with an award on Sunday at the MVP Camp in Valdosta, Ga.
"I just went out and did my best," Gardenhire-Washington told Scout when asked about being named Top Underclassman at this event. "I got a lot of work in, I learned a lot, I in on a lot of 1on1s, and it was great. I just did my best."
The 6-foot-4, 192 pound freshman out of Kingsland (Ga.) Camden County listened and learned before starring in the final showcase Sunday.
"The coaching was great and I really learned a lot about using my hands, getting out of my stance, and technique. I took what I was taught during the camp and used it during the 1on1s and that helped a lot.
"I went up against the bigger guys and I used my speed and my hands. The coaching really helped a lot."
As long as Gardenhire-Washington continues to listen to his coaches and hits the weight room, he could emerge as a top prospect in the future.
Scout liked his length, his quickness off the ball, and how he moved at that size.
He could project as an outside linebacker, but this 2016 prospect likes playing with his hand down.
"I am a speed rusher right now and that is what I like do," said Gardenhire-Washington with a laugh. "I know I am going to grow some more, get bigger, and all that, so I think I will stay at defensive end. I like to rush the passer, so that is the position I like the most."
It is very early in his high school career, so recruiting hasn't gotten started for him yet, but when it does get going, he has a short list of schools he'd like to hear from.
"I have always liked Florida, so I would like to hear from them. My cousin is Brian Crum and he played for them. I have been watching Florida for a while.
"I also like Clemson, Georgia, South Carolina, and Georgia Tech."