Sunday morning, Robert Washington changed his Twitter handle.
The four-star running back who was in line to potentially become the first SU running back to wear No. 44 in over fifteen years, Washington decided to re-open his recruiting although he "still has a strong relationship" with Scott Shafer and his staff.
It's a pretty weird situation in general, if Washington's new Twitterfeed is any indication...
Washington told Syracuse.com that he plans to take all his official visits now and judging by the other coaches he reached to on Twitter, he's looking at some major programs.
Rumors abound about the reason for the sudden departure from the program, including the clearly curious relationship Washington has with his father and how he may have been involved with the process. Other red flags seem to have been mentioned, although with nothing confirmed it would be unwise to draw any conclusions at this point. There's plenty of folks saying that the decision was mutual as well. Suffice to say, while he seems like a good kid and a talented athlete, perhaps there was a bit too much drama for SU Football, potential be damned.
One curious note worth pursuing is a rumor about how someone in the Washington camp disliked the idea of the Orange recruiting highly-coveted RB Tre Bryant for the same class. As soon as the announcement of Washington's de-commitment hit, SU recruiting director Eric White started following Bryant on Twitter. Such are the leaps we make in the world of recruiting, but, take it as you like.
And so, it looks like you can tell The 44 Committee that their services will no longer be needed next season. Although if you ask me, this just reaffirms my feelings that 44 should just be brought back into rotation. Give it to a kid who wants to be here, understands the tradition and is willing to work towards matching it. Waiting around for The Next Big Thing to get here is a fool's errand.
As for the 2016 class, Washington's loss stings but there's still a lot of positives to remember. Moe Neal is now the successor to the RB crown (and will be enrolling early), Rex Culpepper could potentially be the SU quarterback of the future and a bunch more talented players wait in the wings.
Plus, you know, recruiting is just one giant crapshoot and who the hell knows if Washington (or anyone) will live up to the hype. Maybe this is terrible news. Maybe this is great news. No one honestly knows for sure, at least for another 3-4 years.
At the end of the day, Robert's free to do whatever he wants and we wish him well. So it goes.