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National Signing Day: Robert Washington (Remember Him?) Signs With Charlotte

Last year, Syracuse fans were heralding Robert Washington as The Next Great Syracuse Running Back. Today, he signs his NLI with Charlotte.

Richard Walker

Today was supposed to be a coronation.

That's how it felt back in April when four-star RB Robert Washington verbally-committed to play for the Syracuse Orange, though I suppose even then we knew it might be too good to be true.

The hype is through the roof despite the fact that we're more than a year away from the actual result. And while you think you might know what's going to happen when it's all said and done, a lot can change between now and then.

You're telling me, me.

It was a foregone conclusion that not only was Washington going to be The Next Great Syracuse Running Back but that he was going to be the guy to bring back legendary No. 44.

Syracuse has the commitment, Alabama and Florida doesn't, and the Orange coaching staff can — and from what I understand will — pull out the closer and hand Washington the famed No. 44.

How crazy that all sounds from here, when we know what happened next. It became apparent there was a lot going on behind the scenes between Washington and his dad. Then came rumblings that Washington had fallen out with RB coach DeAndre Smith (who in true ironic recruiting fashion no longer works here). Then came the news he had indeed de-committed from the program.

We moved on. A lot changed about Syracuse Football in general since then so it barely even feels like a loss anymore. There's a good chance Washington would have decommitted anyway when Scott Shafer was fired. Who knows.

Whatever happened, things didn't quite pan out for Washington. A lot of those big-time offers must have dried up because the four-star RB ended up committing to play for the Charlotte 49ers today. No disrespect intended to Charlotte but it's a far cry from Alabama, TCU and Florida, let alone Syracuse.

Syracuse has long since moved on from Washington (just ask Moe Neal and Jo-El Shaw about that), but I expect that many of us will be keeping an eye on his career and how it pans out. If Washington becomes a star and elevates Charlotte into a better program, we'll wonder what-if. If he disappears into the crowd, we'll wonder why. Perhaps we'll breath a sigh of relief. Maybe a sigh of sorrow. Maybe both.

Such is what makes National Signing Day such a big deal for college football fans. It's a day full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. And yet we'll remember who joined us, who didn't join us and where their lives went from there.