Tuskegee University football coach Willie Slater has given former Missouri football player Derrick Washington a second chance, according to a story in the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser by columnist Josh Moon.
Washington, a former captain and starting tailback for the Missouri football team, was found guilty of deviate sexual assault in September of 2011 and later sentenced to five years in prison. He was released in March after completing a 120-day "shock incarceration" program designed for first-time offenders.
While serving that prison sentence, Washington also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault of his former girlfriend. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail in that case.
Still, Slater told Moon he felt comfortable enough after interviewing Washington at length to offer him a scholarship, and Washington transferred to Tuskegee in August.
"He's a good kid who just messed up once," Slater told Moon. "Since he's been here, he's been a model kid. He's done everything we've asked him to do. I don't bring bad kids into any program. My reputation as a coach goes well past this place, and no one has ever questioned the kids I bring in. Derrick's a good kid. He spent 120 days in prison. That changes a person."
Washington has started both games for Tuskegee this season, rushing for 155 yards and two touchdowns in last Saturday's 35-17 win over Johnson C. Smith in Atlanta.