Demond Washington is less than a decade removed from winning a national championship during his final year at Auburn. He’s spent most of that time making a name for himself in the Canadian Football League but now he’s ready to return home and give back to the community that helped jumpstart his career.

Washington, who starred for Tallassee’s football team and was named to the Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 4A All-State team in 2005 and 2006, has taken the early steps to start a training program for local athletes to help them prepare for the next level.

“I am trying to give back to the kids especially with something that I didn’t have growing up in this area,” Washington said. “The coaches don’t have enough time to do that with all the seasons going on. I want to come in and give that time individually to help them for upcoming seasons.”

Washington attended Mississippi Gulf Coast Junior College before moving to Auburn for his final two collegiate seasons. He was a starter in the secondary, recording 91 tackles and three interceptions, and he was the leading return man as he finished his career with a pair of touchdowns on kickoff returns.

It did not take long for Washington to make it to the professional level, playing five seasons in the CFL, so he knows what it takes to reach the next level and he’s hoping his experience can help more locals make that step.

“Once they get to the point where they want to go to college, recruiters are going to be able to tell they have been working,” Washington said. “I always knew I wanted to do a camp back here. Tallassee has a lot of great athletes but we get overlooked sometimes. They just need a little exposure. I want people from all over to hear about this.”

Washington focuses on doing footwork and agility drills, essentially running a speed school. And while he specializes in training for football players and defensive backs, Washington said his training will be open to any athlete.

“We’ll be doing a lot of drills,” Washington said. “When you train through the offseason, you want all of it to become second nature in the game. You’re going to want this kind of work for every sport. A lot of the work will speak for itself.”

And while his loyalty still lies with the Tigers, Washington wants to reach athletes from surrounding towns in the region. 

“We’re all family,” Washington said. “When we get on the field, we’re going to compete but when I say family, I mean Eclectic, Dadeville, Reeltown, all of them.”

Washington isn’t new to doing training camps for young athletes. He got to give back some to the local community while he was in Canada, where he and a few other teammates put on offseason camps for more than 500 kids.

However, Washington is looking to put together something more stable than just offseason camps. He recently got a facility and is still working on moving in equipment to get his business started and in the meantime, he is already taking on clients who want to get started with their training as soon as possible.

“I just feel this is something I didn’t have when I was here and it’s something I can give back to a neighborhood that did so much for me,” Washington said. “They believed in me. I feel like this could be great for the community.”

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.