The Washington Football Team has promoted Drew Terrell to wide receivers coach, giving the young coach control of a position group for the first time in his career.
"My excitement was through the roof," Terrell told Washintonfootball.com staff writer Zach Selby. "It's more than I could have imagined. ...Being in the NFL is already a privilege and then just having that opportunity is awesome."
Here are five things to know about Terrell as he takes on his new role.
1. He was a star at Hamilton High School.
Hamilton High School, which is located in Chandler, Arizona, was a football powerhouse for the better part of a decade, winning seven state championships from 2003-12. Two of those titles came in 2008 and 2009, when Terrell was emerging as one of the best offensive and special teams talents in the state.
In his final two seasons with the Huskies, Terrell established himself as one of the team's key players by catching 49 passes for 822 yards as a junior and accounting for 1,400 yards as a senior. His senior season was filled with standout performances, including eight receptions for 114 yards against Mesquite and nine receptions for 138 yards against Red Mountain.
It was those kinds of performances that earned him first- and second-team All-Fiesta Region honors, but that was only part of Terrell's skillset. In addition to lettering in track, he was also an accomplished punt and kickoff returner, which earned him more All-Region accolades in his senior year and an all-state selection in his junior year.
Terrell helped Hamilton win three regional championships on top of its two 5A Division I state titles, and he was recognized for his contributions. Scout.com ranked him as the 43rd-best receiver in the country, while Rivals.com recognized him as the best receiver and 10th-best overall prospect in Arizona. ESPN's scouting report listed Terrell as a hybrid slot receiver/scatback who "possesses excellent quickness and change-of-direction skills and he is dangerous in the open field." That earned attention from the likes of Northwestern, Wake Forest and Arizona State. Eventually, he received an offer from Stanford, which is where he committed.
2. He loved being a returner.
Terrell was not originally a main contributor to Stanford's offense; he would have to earn that role later in his career. But he was able to utilize his talent as a returner, which is a position he had played since his Pop Warner days, and averaged at least 6.5 yards per return in each season.
"There is this quiet, and you know all eyes are on you," Terrell said. "I always felt comfort in that space. ...It was almost like a quiet before the storm."
Terrell played baseball when he was younger, which he felt gave him better hand-eye coordination to track the ball while it was in the air. That clearly worked out for him, because he received all-conference honors in his junior year for averaging 12 yards per punt return and an All-Pac-12 honorable mention in his senior year. He was also a recipient of the Phil Moffat Special Teams Award for ranking 17th nationally with 12.1 yards per punt return, which is the seventh-best in school history.
Terrell had several memorable returns in his four seasons at Stanford, including a 42-yarder against San Jose State and a 31-yarder against Colorado, but his best came during his senior year when he sprinted into the end zone on a 76-yard return against Duke in the first quarter. Terrell amassed 100 return yards in that game and also hauled in a receiving touchdown, making him the first in school history to record a receiving and punt return touchdown since Troy Walters in 1997.
3. His first-career touchdown catch was from Andrew Luck.
After making just three receptions for 13 yards in the first two seasons of his college career, Terrell began to make more of an impact on offense during his junior season. He appeared in 13 games and accounted for 81 receiving yards on eight receptions, one of which was his first-career touchdown that came on a five-yard pass by future No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck.
Terrell remembers the play well because to him, the play unfolded in slow motion. Stanford was playing the Washington and decided to run a sprint out play to the right. Terrell was running a corner route to the back of the end zone, while tight end Zach Ertz was running in the flat. Luck's read was supposed to progress from Ertz to Terrell, so the ball would be going to him if Ertz was covered.
Terrell said he saw Washington's flat defender "screaming down to Zach," so he knew he was going to be open. As he turned around, he saw Luck winding up to make his throw. That was when everything started to slow down in Terrell's mind. He jumped at the right moment, got both hands on the ball and got his left foot in the end zone before the defender could push him out of bounds.
Stanford went on to route Washington, 65-21, winning its seventh straight game against a team that was ranked No. 22 in the country.
"It was awesome," Terrell said. "It was a euphoric feeling. It was really cool. Obviously, I was surrounded by great players, talking about Luck...and Zach Ertz was the primary receiver on that play. I was around great guys, and celebrating it with those guys that I love and had a great college experience with was really cool."
4. He had a strong senior season at Stanford.
By the time Terrell had reached his senior season, he was set up to have a strong finale to his college career. After three years of paying his dues, he started in 11 of 14 games and had posted a career-high 463 yards and four touchdowns.
"They could rely on me every down and to not come off the field," Terrell said of his Stanford coaches. "When they called my number, I was going to be ready and I was going to make a play. It was just being consistent, being patient, being ready when the opportunity presented itself."
Terrell led the team's receivers in 2012 and was second only to Ertz's 898, but what was more impressive was how reliable he was for Stanford's passers. He averaged 14 yards per catch, which ranked third on the team among players with at least 16 receptions, and caught all 13 of his third-down targets. One of his most critical was a game-tying touchdown on a 3rd-and-15 against UCLA in the Pac-12 Championship in the fourth quarter. Stanford went on to win the game by a field goal, 27-24.
Terrell finished the season with 788 all-purpose yards, which included his 291 yards on 24 punt returns and a 34-yard pass against Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, which Stanford won, 20-14. For a player who was one of five freshmen to see the field in their first season, it was a fine way for Terrell to end his playing career, as he joined Virginia Tech's staff as a graduate assistant two years later.
5. He is a "bright and up and coming coach."
Terrell might be in the genesis of his coaching career, but he has taken massive strides in just three NFL seasons. He was an offensive quality control coach with the Carolina Panther from 2018-19, and during that time he helped forge an offense that allowed running back Christian McCaffrey to set multiple franchise records -- not mention becoming the third player in league history to record 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards -- and guard Trai Turner to earn his fourth Pro Bowl selection.
He then followed head coach Ron Rivera to Washington, where he helped McLaurin haul in a career-high 1,118 yards. Now, he has been promoted to Washington's wide receivers coach.
"Coach Terrell is a bright and up and coming coach," Rivera said, "who I know will command respect in the wide receivers room and build off of the foundation that he and Coach Hostler established there this past season."
It is clear that Rivera chooses to put his faith in people who he knows can do what is asked of them and yield positive results. In just three seasons, Terrell has earned that trust, and it comes with a high standard that he intends to uphold.
"He believes in the people that he brings in the building and he trusts them with the job they've been tasked to do and allows them to do that job," Terrell said of Rivera. "Me being one of those guys, I'm just ultra appreciative of him having that trust and confidence in me. I've got to do the job to the utmost of my ability so that I don't let him down."