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Louisiana tight end inspired by boy’s cancer fight

by Richard Davenport | September 8, 2013 at 4:06 a.m.

— Tight end Jacory Washington will forever be shaped by his relationship with Brennan Daigle, who died at age 10 from a rare form of cancer called embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma.

Washington, a LSU commitment who is being recruited by Arkansas, met Daigle during his freshman year.

“He actually came and shadowed me for a day,” Washington said. “Everybody knew he wasn’t going to be able to make it to high school. My teacher asked me if he could follow me.”

The two began to spend time together, and Washington said Daigle taught him plenty.

“He taught me to live life every day, live life to the fullest,” said Washington, who attends Westlake (La.) High School. “He always had a saying, which was Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. That’s what I live by.”

Washington still remembers the day Daigle lost his fight with cancer.

“He passed away May 5, 2011, 2:15 a.m.,” he said.

Washington said Daigle made a major impact on his life.

“It’s a life-changing experience,” said Washington, who plans to make an official visit to Arkansas. “He taught me so much. I’m grateful I had a chance to meet him.”

Washington said life’s hardships don’t seem as difficult anymore after getting to know Daigle.

“In my case, it taught me to fight through adversity,” Washington said. “He was a strong guy. Whenever I’m feeling down or something doesn’t go right, I think about him.”

UA OFFERS HILL

Arkansas tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. and receivers coach Michael Smith were on hand Friday night at North Little Rock’s game against Lake Hamilton to watch North Little Rock senior running back Juan Day and junior receiver K.J. Hill.

Hill, 6-1, 178 pounds, 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash,received a scholarship offer from Razorbacks on Saturday following his strong performance Friday night.

Coach Brad Bolding gave Hill a heads-up during the pregame meal that the Razorbacks coaches were coming to watch him play.

“That kind of got my mind-set ready,” Hill said. “My mind-set was to go out here and prove myself, because at Conway [during a scrimmage] I didn’t do nothing. I had a bad game, and I had to go and get my mind right and come out here and play my best.”

Hill finished with 5 receptions for 71 yards and 2 touchdown and returned a kickoff 99 yards for a score to help lead the Charging Wildcats to a 55-13 victory. Using his elusiveness and speed, Hill turned a short reception into a 33-yard touchdown with 35 seconds left in the first half.

“Coach was telling us to get out of bounds but I forgot,” said Hill, who also has an offer from Auburn. “I was just trying to get to the end zone.”

Hill had 48 receptions for 845 yards, 11 touchdowns and 27 carries for 233 yards and 3 touchdowns while playing for Bryant last season, when he named to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Super Sophomore team.

Hill said the offer from Arkansas means a lot.

“I’ve been watching them since I was little,” he said.

Day, 6-2, 212, 4.5, is already orally committed to the Razorbacks but turned in a nice performance as well. He rushed 13 times for 151 yards with 1 touchdown. A chunk of his yardage came on an 89-yard touchdown run in the second quarter that put the Charging Wildcats ahead 26-0.

“Their linebackers run up the field so much so I knew if I make the first linebacker miss I would have one defender left to go,” Day said. “I had some great blocking downfield by Fabian [Lewis]. I had one more man to beat. I kind of got tired, so I cut back and gave him a stiff-arm and let him go by me.”

The performance wasn’t a bad way to start his senior season.

“No, it’s not,” Day said, smiling.

Day said seeing Lunney and Smith on the sideline motivated him.

“They gave me an extra push,” he said. “I saw Coach Lunney and I figured I should go ahead and make a big play for them.”

E-mail Richard Davenport at rdavenport@arkansasonline.com

In the house

Arkansas hosted approximately 50 recruits on unofficial visits for the Samford game at War Memorial Stadium on Saturday night. Here are some of the notable prospects who attended the game:

POS. PLAYER HT WT 40 SCHOOL

TE-DE JAMARIO BELL 6-6 230 4.7 Junction City

UA commitment has attended both games.

RB JUAN DAY 6-2 212 4.5 North Little Rock

UA commitment scored on a 89-yard TD run Friday.

WR K.J. HILL 6-1 178 4.5 North Little Rock

Received offer from Hogs on Saturday after big game Friday.

WR SANTOS RAMIREZ 6-2 180 4.55 Shreveport Evangel

Has several offers, including LSU, but says Hogs lead

WR JARED CORNELIUS 6-1 190 4.48 Shreveport Evangel

Is committed to Hogs helping recruit teammate Ramirez

DT AUSTIN CAPPS 6-4 298 5.1 Star City

Sophomore earned offer from Hogs at Arkansas’ June camp

DT BIJHON JACKSON 6-2 330 5.1 El Dorado

Hasn’t wavered since committing others still pursuing

TE WILL GRAGG 6-4 238 4.7 Pine Bluff

Junior has offers from Arkansas, Ole Miss, Alabama, others.

DE McTELVIN AGIM 6-4 230 Hope

Top sophomore prospect made good showing at June camp.

Sports, Pages 29 on 09/08/2013

Print Headline: Louisiana tight end inspired by boy’s cancer fight

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