Connect with us

Steelers News

NCAA Hammers Tennessee Over Recruiting Violations Involving Darnell Washington



Steelers Pittsburgh Steelers Darnell Washington 2023 NFL Draft

Coming out of high school, now Steelers tight end Darnell Washington was a hot commodity. A five-star recruit and a consensus Top-40 prospect, just about every school in the country wanted Washington to play for their team, but he ended up considering mostly SEC offers.

Two of those schools ended up being Georgia and Tennessee. Obviously, he ended up in Athens with the Bulldogs, but Tennessee made a push for Washington that included paying him cash, according to Mike Wilson of the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Under Jeremy Pruitt’s staff, Washington was offered money, which would be an improper benefit at the time with no NIL system in place. Assistant coach Brian Niedermeyer offered Washington cash during his recruitment in a parking lot and at the official visit with his family in their house.

As a result, Tennessee received a six-year show cause penalty and was fined $8 million for the violations committed under the guidance of Pruitt. They are not banned from postseason play, but as a result of the show-cause, Tennessee will have to present reasons to hire a staff member or recruiter and get approval from the NCAA before doing so. Last year, four other former Volunteers staffers received individual show causes themselves.

Now, Washington is just one of the players that was offered money in this case. Obviously, he ended up going to Georgia anyways and becoming a key part of their national championship teams and pushes. Now with the Steelers, Washington hopes he can showcase what made him such a coveted recruit in the first place.

There’s not a lot to miss with Washington. He’s a 6-foot-7 playmaker that makes an impact in the redzone and as a blocker. The upside is there for the future for him to really break out as a star. But for now, he will be a great contribution piece along with Pat Freiermuth and other weapons.

Steelers Now in Your Mailbox!

Enter your email address to get notifications of new posts in your mailbox.

Subscribe Today!