At the end of spring football, Northwood head coach Jim Gatlin used many complimentary words to describe wide receiver Martavious Washington.
He took it even further saying Washington will be one of the top receivers in Bossier and Caddo parishes in 2012.
After seven-on-seven play this summer, Gatlin is still saying the same thing, and the dual-sport athlete is eager to prove him right. "I told him thank you for that," Washington said. "It means a lot. I've been waiting on the season to start since last year. I'm ready." Last season, Washington was a sophomore in a senior-laden receiver corps. This season, the 5-foot-10 junior wants to make a name for himself with the help of longtime friend and new quarterback Jerrick Peterson, who is also a junior. "His hands -- receiving and catching the ball -- are as good as anybody I've worked with in my career," Gatlin said. "He's a very good athlete. Being a guard on the basketball team shows that. He's got a great attitude, too." Peterson said it's not difficult to figure out his go-to-receiver's strength. "Everything I throw to him, he catches," Peterson said. "Ever since we were little he could catch and run. After the catch, he can make yards and make people miss. He works hard in the classroom and on the field." Washington said he spent extra time this summer developing chemistry with Peterson. Washington also added 22 pounds to last season's 150-pound frame by working out more and cutting fried chicken out of his diet. Gatlin said Washington now just needs to add more speed to his route running. "I run my routes better," Washington said. "I don't run them slow no more. Now, I'm just used to it, and I'm running them better and better." Washington said the biggest thing his team is focused is finding consistency. Northwood finished 5-5 last season after starting the year 3-0. "If things go bad, we have to keep our head up," Washington said. "Last year, we started arguing at wrong times, and we put our head down at the wrong time and made bad choices." While Gatlin wants to see his offense more balanced in 2012, he said Washington will play a vital part in it. "We will be able to throw and catch the football," Gatlin said. "The other receivers being seniors last season, I think sort of intimidated (Jerrick) a little bit. Now he has a good rapport with his receivers." Washington still remembers scoring his first career touchdown on a 25-yard slant route against North Webster last season. He finished the season -- his first year to start -- with four touchdowns. Washington started playing basketball and football when he was 9 years old. While he liked basketball first, he also enjoyed football. Washington just never thought he'd be playing both right now. "I'm just going to stay humble and be better," Washington said. Gatlin is betting on it, too. "If he stays healthy, he will have a banner year," Gatlin said. Connect with Kelly Morris on Twitter at @Kelly_Mo.