Nickelback James Washup, a 2017 Clarksdale High School graduate, spent the past two seasons playing for Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and liked the scheme his coaches ran.
With that in mind, Washup decided to sign with Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Ark., at CHS the morning of Wednesday, Dec. 19.
“Henderson basically uses the same defense I ran at my last school at Mississippi Gulf Coast,” Washup said. “I like the position they want me to play. They’ve got my major. It’s pretty much I like the program over there. They’ve got a winning program and the conference is wide open.”
Both MGCCC and Henderson State run a five-DB defense, which Washup said is like a nickel defense or 4-2-5. He was a strong safety and nickelback at MGCCC, but for the Wildcats, he played a little bit of every position, including inside linebacker and strong safety.
He was limited to only five games due to a torn MCL in 2018, which is healed, and still had 30 tackles and a forced fumble.
“I’m doing pretty good,” Washup said. “It was early on in the season. I missed the first three games.”
Washup said playing for Henderson State gives him an opportunity to eventually play professional football. He noted former Henderson State safety Malik Brown is entering the upcoming NFL Draft.
He is an occupational therapy major and has a backup plan to be a rehab therapist if he does not make it to the NFL.
“I just want to be a therapist,” Washup said. “I love helping people. I love being hands-on.”
Washup said the opportunity to work with athletes would keep him close to sports as a rehab therapist.