After two years away from the University of Washington, former O'Dea High star Chancellor Young has returned to the team and has one chance left to make something of his college career.
About as mysteriously as Chancellor Young departed the Huskies two years ago, there he was back on the roster Monday when the team opened fall drills.
Young, last seen catching a 55-yard touchdown pass in the 2006 spring game before falling victim to academic issues and leaving school, has returned older, wiser and hoping to make the best of his last chance at college glory. He has just one season of eligibility left.
“Whatever way I can contribute, whatever way I can help, I’m more than willing to do,” said the former O’Dea High star, who is a walk-on with the Huskies and hoping to earn a spot with a young receiving corps.
It’s a maturity borne of two years of struggles to make it back to UW after he admits he didn’t pay as much attention to school as he should have.
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“I didn’t fulfill my end of the bargain,” said Young, son of longtime NFL star Charle Young. “I didn’t take care of my responsibilities.”
He didn’t seem the most likely candidate to fall prey to such problems, having attended Duke University for a year before transferring to UW to get closer to home.
He said the structure at O’Dea allowed him to do the things he needed to get into Duke. But once he was on his own, he struggled to adjust, which continued after he transferred to UW in the fall of 2005. A standout receiver and defensive back at O’Dea, he caught two passes at Duke in 2004, his only college action. When he returned to Seattle, he was seen as a key part of coach Tyrone Willingham’s rebuilding project.
“When I came back here, I was still going through the whole freshman adjustment,” he said of attempting to juggle a social life with being a student-athlete. “The problem was I was trying to do everything at once, like I was used to doing in high school.”
When he was dismissed from the team before the start of the 2006 season, he said he vowed he’d make it back someday.
“I had started a mission and I intended to finish it,” he said.
He said he attended Seattle Central Community College and also held a few odd jobs. Last summer he worked construction, and realized his time might be better spent heading to camp with UW.
“It was like, ‘I’d rather be catching footballs than tearing down drywall or ripping up carpet,’ ” he said.
He said he was readmitted to UW last winter quarter but couldn’t get the classes he needed until the spring. At that point, he said, spring ball had already started and Willingham told Young to wait until the fall to return to the team.
When camp began Monday, his name was back on the roster, surprising some observers who figured his time at UW had come and gone.
“He kept battling and kept doing the things to put himself back to being a member of this team because it’s something he very desperately wanted to do,” Willingham said. “And we held the door open for him to do that and tried to work with him so it could happen.”
Now the team has to figure out where Young fits.
Offensive coordinator Tim Lappano said Young can definitely help, especially on special teams.
“He’s a big kid [listed at 6 feet, 220 pounds] and he’s physical,” he said. “He’ll put his face on you in the running game. And he could really help on special teams.”
With only two receivers returning who have caught a pass, he might also be able to help out there, as well, though Lappano isn’t ready to pencil him in just yet.
“We’ll wait and see on that,” Lappano said, pointing out the obvious fact that he hadn’t seen Young in more than two years. “But he’s a big, fast, tough kid.”
And he’s a player who also feels like he has something to prove, especially to Willingham, saying he wondered occasionally if the coach would welcome him back.
“There were times you feel down about it, like, ‘Is this going to happen? Has too much time passed?’ ” Young said. “But Coach Willingham looked at me and looked at how I’ve grown and looked in there and saw that there was something there that could help contribute to the success of this team.”
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org.