With the 2023 NFL Draft now complete, we now turn our sights to rookie minicamp and preparing for training camp this summer. In the draft, the Atlanta Falcons selected some promising young prospects and added six undrafted rookies as well as invited several players to rookie minicamp.
For the third consecutive year, my undrafted free agent series returns as I strive to allow the fans to get to know the UDFAs the team signs a little better. In recent years, I’ve spoken with Caleb Huntley, Dorian Etheridge, and Ryan Neuzil who are on the team’s roster. I kicked off my 2023 UDFA series last week, speaking with the speedy wide receiver Xavier Malone.
Today, I had the pleasure to speak with running back Carlos Washington Jr. out of Southeastern Louisiana. Enjoy.
How did Southeastern Louisiana and the University of New Hampshire help you achieve your goal of becoming an NFL player?
UNH and SLU both helped me develop as a man and athlete. Going to UNH after graduating high school was life changing in a way because it was my first time ever being away from home. There was a lot of trials and tribulations, new responsibilities gained, and a lot of self-discovery. (UNH) Coach (Sean), McDonnell instilled a lot of life lessons in me that contributed to my growth.
During my redshirt freshman season my father passed away from cancer in July 2018 shortly before my debut season. That tragic loss definitely took a huge toll on me. It also fueled me to leave everything on the field and to use football as my outlet to release my doubts, anger, and frustration. After graduating in fall 2021, I decided to enter the portal and took the opportunity of being able to play at SLU.
I felt like the transferring process was very important because wherever I decided to go would play an important part in me pursuing my dream of becoming an NFL player. The coaching I received there definitely felt like a glimpse of what I would receive at the pro level. They believed in my abilities and I was pushed every day beyond my limits. It’s safe to say that my one and only year there was a special one. We had a big season this past fall and we were able to bring SLU their first conference championship under Coach (Frank) Scelfo.
Favorite moments playing in college?
My first-ever college touchdown as a freshman at UNH was a favorite moment. Secondly, winning the conference championship at SLU.
Is there any certain player you model your game on? Favorite NFL player (current or past)?
I model my game after Le’Veon Bell and Reggie Bush. I take things from their game that I like and apply it to my game while staying true to who I am.
What do you like most about football in general, and specially, playing running back?
I’m a very family oriented person so I like the family bond that football brings. It’s a team sport 100%, and it takes having all hands on deck to achieve success. Everyone has to share common goals and everyone has to care just as much as the person next to them.
The ability to allow my instincts and IQ to take over and impact the game whether it’s with the ball in my hands or blocking is what I like most about playing running back.
How familiar are you with the Falcons’ franchise? Have you ever been to Atlanta?
Before the draft process I wasn’t too familiar with the franchise but I’ve been doing homework and I’ll learn more as I go. I do know that Arthur Blank is a great person to have as a team owner. I also believe that Arthur Smith is a great head coach and likes to dominate his opponents by establishing the run.
Have you discussed with the Falcons’ staff what your role in Atlanta could be?
We haven’t gone too much in depth as of yet but they are looking for me to come in and contribute on offense and special teams. I personally am ready to come in to compete everyday, to soak up as much knowledge as I can, to outdo my own self, and to enjoy every minute of being in the environment.
Did you have offers to sign with other teams, and what made the Falcons seem like a good fit for you?
Yes, I did have offers from other teams. Picking the Falcons felt like the right decision internally. I feel like I’ll have the space and opportunity to be able to produce and be successful in all areas.
Anything you want to say to Falcons’ fans?
Dirty Bird nation! I’m blessed to be in this position and I’m excited to see what’s in store for the future. I’m ready to work hard and I’m ready to give the organization and the fans everything I got to contribute to putting us on top. This is just the beginning. Rise Up!
Washington Jr. began his career at the University of New Hampshire before transferring to Southeastern Louisiana for his senior season. He rushed for 715 yards on 147 carries (4.86 YPC) and 15 TDs, along with 22 receptions for 141 yards (6.41 YPR). Washington Jr. is a tough runner with good short-area quickness, as you probably noticed in the video above. With Caleb Huntley likely to be sidelined for a while due to a ruptured Achilles tendon which occurred during the 2022 season, Washington Jr. will have a real opportunity to make a name for himself in Atlanta.
Speaking with Washington Jr., it’s fair to say I expect him to become a fan favorite in Atlanta. He’s thoughtful and clearly is motivated to prove himself on the big stage. I wish him the best this summer!