Coming out of high school in 2005, Michael Washington received scholarship offers from South Carolina, Clemson and North Carolina State. But the Gamecock defensive end chose a vastly different path than most prized recruits, choosing to sign with the Marines rather than a football program.
Washington spent four years in the military before pursuing his college football career, one that has been that of a journeyman to say the least. He played safety at Allendale-Fairfax High School in Allendale, South Carolina before latching on as a defensive end at the two colleges he's joined up with.
After his four years of service, Washington walked on at South Carolina State, but didn't appear in any games. He spent a semester as a student at USC Aiken before coming to Columbia in 2012, where he walked on to the South Carolina team in the spring.
Washington paid his dues on the scout team for all of the 2012 and 2013 seasons and finally got his shot to play in a college football game this season.
The redshirt junior played — and started — his first game in this year's win over Furman.
Stats: one game played, three tackles, one fumble recovery
Superlatives: 2014 Outstanding Walk-on for the spring (Defense), oldest player on the team at 27
Quotable: "[Joining the military] helped me to be a team player. Coming out, I was kind of a 'me' player. Coming out of high school, I was king of like, all about me. And going to the military, you have a lot of teamwork, so that helped me out a lot."