Jan. 14, 2005
Florida State junior tailback Leon Washington announced Friday that he has decided to return to school for his senior year instead of entering the 2005 NFL Draft. Washington led the ACC this season with an average of 95.1 yards per game. He also ranked second nationally in average yards per carry (6.89), trailing only California’s J.J. Arrington (6.98).
“I talked to family and we agreed it would be best for me to come back,” said Washington. “Education is very important and I’ll be close to graduation after the spring and the fall. I also understand my role as a team leader and I expect a lot from the guys we have coming back next year. With the talent we have returning, I think we have the potential next year to compete for the national championship.”
Washington, who will be a Heisman Trophy contender in 2005, earned Gator Bowl MVP honors in FSU’s 30-18 win over West Virginia with 195 rushing yards on 12 carries. The 16.2 yards per carry average broke the Florida State single game record formerly held by Warrick Dunn.
“I looked at the running back situation for this year’s draft and it was a deep year for tailbacks,” said Washington. “My goal is to be a first round pick. The NFL told me that I would go no higher than the second round so that was a factor as well. Like Warrick Dunn said when he came back for his senior season, I’ve gone without money for this long, I can wait one more year.”