Shrine Bowl Sensation: Unveiling Rising Star From USC Trojans Making Waves, Yet Not A Household Name

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The USC Trojans Football program has groomed hundreds of superstars for the next level. They have notable players at just about every position, but as of late, they have aptly become known as Wide Receiver U!

Just in the last handful of years, the USC Trojans have put Michael Pittman Jr., Amon-Ra St. Brown, Drake London, and Jordan Addison in the NFL. All of these players have already risen to star status, with Drake London just needing a quarterback to reach the elite level.

The next USC wide receiver to send shockwaves through the NFL won’t be a first-round pick. He might not even be a 2nd or 3rd round pick. He certainly won’t be a household name outside of Los Angeles. But he will be an absolute draft steal. Of course, I am talking about Tahj Washington.

Washington finished last year with his first 1,000-yard campaign in his collegiate career. He tallied 59 catches for 1,062 yards and 8 touchdowns. He is now putting those skills on display at the East-West Shrine Bowl.

USC Trojans WR Tahj Washington Making Waves At Shrine Bowl

Washington is such an underrated route runner, and he has elusive speed. He runs his routes crisply, and with decisiveness. It seemed like all year, whenever the Trojans and Caleb Williams were in a bind, Washington was there to rely on, getting open on crucial third downs with his route running.

Here is an example of that elusive speed that he has. He was able to blow past the defender with a hard jab step and then hit top speed before making a great play of high-pointing the football. The media at the Shrine Bowl are oozing over what Washington has been displaying all week, but USC Football fans know this is what Tahj put on tape week in and week out.

He won’t get the same shine, or draft prowess as Jordan Addison, but in terms of size (Addison – 5’11, 175 – Washington 5’10, 175), route running ability, and speed (Addison – 4.49 40 time – Washington – 4.42 unofficial per both receivers are extremely similar.

Washington is also a very talented and willing blocker, but perhaps his greatest attribute is his leadership by example and team-first mentality. Tahj Washington is almost the “Anti-WR” in terms of being about as opposite of a diva as you can be.

Washington will again display his skills during the East-West Shrine Game, which takes place on February 1st at 5 PM PT on NFL Network. Where do you think he gets drafted in the NFL Draft?