Mizzou's Family Man

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COLUMBIA - L'Damian Washington has been given a unique nickname from his teammates on the Missouri football team: Dang, Dang. The reason might be because dang is the first word that comes to mind when you see some of his skills or possibly when you hear his story.

Trey Hobson feels his story represents his nickname quite well, "his background is probably the most incredible i've ever been around."

Washington comes from Louisiana, far from his family, but closer to his goals. It's simply amazing when you find out his path to get here. Hobson and the rest of the Missouri football team have a lot of respect for Washington, "where he comes from that kids got the heart of a lion and that's why we respect him so much."

Washington is blessed with his speed, size, and hands, but he's also cursed. Washington's mother is with him but only as a tattoo on his arm. She died when he was a sophomore in high school while watching her son play in a basketball game,  "she actually passed away at one of my basketball games. It's kind of a misdeal my mom was a single parent. There were four of us. I got three other brothers that I lived with. My mom passed away when I was 15, but she raised me the right way."

After her death L' Damian and his three brothers, two of them older than him, raised each other, "she basically molded us to be prepared for when that time did come." 

All of his brothers were in his thoughts when he caught a touchdown against Oklahoma because he knew they'd see it, "anytime my brothers get to watch me play it's good. They haven't been up here to catch a game or to visit, yet. I knew that was a special moment for me."

Jerrel Jackson feels football has helped Washington, "football is what helped him. Got him out of the situation he was in and forced him to grow up faster than he wanted to. He can be one of the best receivers to come through Missouri. I believe so. His potential is out the roof."

Washington has also figured out how to eliminate distractions, his focus is different than most, "I don't have the dream I want to go to the NFL. I just want to graduate, be the first in my family to graduate with a degree. Get a good job and be able to help my brothers out any way that I can. I just see us in the next five or six years being together as one family." 

Washington has played in all six games so far this season and has 10 catches for 219 yards and two touchdowns.