2023 basketball Final Four: Washington Commanders edition

Who are the best Washington football players to play for the 2023 Men’s Final Four universities?

The four colleges who qualified for next weekend’s NCAA Final Four Basketball tournament are Florida Atlantic University, the University of Connecticut, San Diego State University and the University of Miami.

If you can only select one current or former Washington football player from each of the four schools, which one would you choose?




Florida Atlantic University - Alfred Morris

Nov 22, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris (46). Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

When Washington traded struggling quarterback Donovan McNabb to the Minnesota Vikings, all they could get for the declining veteran was a sixth-round choice from the Vikings and another conditional pick.

The conditional pick never materialized because McNabb did not produce for the Vikings.

However, the 2012 sixth-round pick became running back Alfred Morris from Florida Atlantic.

All Morris did was rush for 1,613 yards in 2012, 1,275 in 2013 and 1,074 in 2014. What a steal Morris was in the sixth round.

Morris played a total of nine NFL seasons, for Washington, Dallas, San Francisco, Arizona and the NY Giants.

University of Connecticut - Nick Giaquinto

Many readers may not be familiar with Giaquinto.

The former UCONN Husky running back was discovered by Washington Redskins general manager Bobby Beathard in 1981.

Giaquinto had been with both the Giants and Jets, making neither roster. With the Dolphins in 1980 and 1981, released by Miami, Beathard brought him to Washington.

Playing special teams in 1982, Giaquinto was on the Redskins first Super Bowl championship team. The following season he enjoined his best NFL season, playing in all 16 regular season games on special teams and also catching 27 passes out of the backfield for 372 yards and averaging 13.8 yards per reception.

San Diego State University - Joe Lavender

Washington Redskins cornerback (20) Joe Lavender during a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at RFK Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tony Tomsic-USA TODAY NETWORK Copyright © 1983 Tony Tomsic

Lavender was a lean, long, cornerback who played for Washington for seven seasons (1976-82) after beginning his NFL career with the Philadelphia Eagles (1973-75).

Lavender was not drafted until the 288th selection in the 1973 NFL Draft by the Eagles.

Following his three years with the Eagles, Lavender was traded to Washington for Manny Sistrunk (DT) and a fourth-round, fifth-round and sixth-round draft choice.

Lavender played very well for the Burgundy and Gold, earning Pro Bowl honors in the 1979 and 1980 seasons. He intercepted six passes in both 1979 and 1980, returning one for a touchdown in 1980.

Lavender finished his NFL career with 33 interceptions, three of which he returned for touchdowns.

In his last season, he was a member of the 1982 Super Bowl Champion Redskins team.


University of Miami - Clinton Portis

LANDOVER, MD – NOVEMBER 16: Clinton Portis #26 of the Washington Redskins. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Portis spent seasons in the NFL running hard and blocking, perhaps better than any halfback in the NFL.

After two seasons in Denver (2002-03), Portis brought a toughness and unselfishness to Washington during his seven seasons in Burgundy and Gold (2004-2010).

With Washington, Portis rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2004 (1,315 yards), 2005 (1,516 yards), 2007 (1,262 yards) and 2008 (1,487 yards).

In his seven Washington seasons, Portis rushed for 6,824 yards, averaging 4.1 yards per carry, rushing for 46 touchdowns. He was also on the receiving end of 176 receptions for 1,340 yards.

Sadly, his age 28 and 29 seasons were cut short by injuries, bringing his career to an end after the 2010 season. But Portis was twice a Pro Bowler and a stud of a running back and competitor for Washington.

You can also make a strong case for Santana Moss and Sean Taylor here. The Hurricanes were good to Washington for a time.

Story originally appeared on Commanders Wire