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Tigers' Washington taking steps toward fulfilling potential as a 'demon on field'


As burgeoning Ozark offensive lineman Jayden Washington looks to make a name for himself, teammate Parker Elliott made a nickname for him.

Washington’s moniker is Jay Breezy, as a reference to his first name and rapper Jay Breezy.

“Parker kind of put two and two together, so now I'm Jay Breezy,” Washington said. “Everyone calls me that.”

Given Washington’s 6-foot-7, 305-pound stature, it’s a wonder he’s not nicknamed, ‘Mr. Jay Breezy.’ Even going back to last year when Washington toiled in anonymity as a backup, Ozark hasn’t had a more physically imposing player in recent years.

Washington began to take steps toward fulfilling his potential over the off-season. He shined in coach Jeremy Cordell’s strength and conditioning program.

Washington’s strength numbers proved to be as impressive as any of the Tigers.

Washington topped Ozark with a Truck Stick score of 1,151.87. No one else exceeded 975.

Washington’s power index score of 86.08 was tops. Defensive end Ruben Arvizu was second at 83.25.

No one was more shocked at the results than Washington himself.

“It surprised me I was in first place and how ahead I was (of everybody),” he said.

Consequently, he’s raised expectations for himself.

“It gave me a lot of confidence that I can really hit people, if I truly get serious about this,” Washington said. “I want to get serious about this.”

Likewise, Washington’s teammates are counting on him much more than ever before.

I've got my teammates around me, giving me all the motivation I need to help me be the best player I can be," Washington said. "They've been telling me this since my sophomore year, that if I keep going and get better and stronger, I can be a demon on the field.”

“Jayden has come a long way,” lineman Logan Smith said. “Over the off-season, he learned and got better every day. He's dialed in. I think he's going to be great for us this year.”

Smith values both the strength and size he gained in the off-season. He joined Arvizu as a worker at Taco Bell and feels eating at work has helped him greatly.

“I've put on a lot of weight and feel stronger,” he said. “I like the Cheesy Double Beef Burrito at Taco Bell. I can eat five of them and have tacos on the side.”

Washington enters his senior season with a strong sense of urgency, as he works to try to earn a chance to play college ball.

“It's my last guaranteed year of football,” he said. “This is a very important year for me, my most important year. I'm getting my chance at the spotlight and will show everyone what I'm made of."