ATLANTA — Tevin Washington's summer internship at a law firm helped prepare him for life after football.
The exposure to the business world also may help the sophomore hold off competition from other Georgia Tech quarterbacks, including precocious freshman Vad Lee, to win the starting job in preseason practice.
Washington said Saturday he learned at the law firm that jobs are won by those who work the hardest.
"I learned a lot in the internship," said Washington, a business management major who said he may pursue a career in law.
"You get a lot of work and you really realize that after football is over with, you've got to work somewhere. You learn that if you're not doing your job, somebody out there is doing their job better and they're going to get the job that you want," he said.
Coach Paul Johnson said Washington has had a good first week.
"He's had a good camp," Johnson said. "I think he's playing with a little more confidence. He's healthy. I think he's had a good camp so far. We're excited about what he's done."
The lesson could be useful for Washington, who finished spring drills at the top of the depth chart but is facing new competition in preseason drills.
Johnson said Lee, from Durham, N.C., has made a strong impression in the first week of practice.
"Certainly, Vad Lee is intriguing," Johnson said when asked about the competition at quarterback. "He has a presence."
"I think the way he just carries himself," Johnson said. "He's a very confident kid. He wants to jump in. He wants to take a million reps. He's actually light years ahead of where I thought he would be.
"Now, is he ready to play tomorrow? No. But I mean if I go back and think about when I first came here and tried to put this stuff in and what it looked like in four days and what he looks like in four days, it's really amazing."
The coach said Lee still makes freshman mistakes but that he has a lot of potential. He says the freshman "comes in every spare minute and watches tape and studies. He wants to play."
Johnson said redshirt freshman Synjyn Days "has done OK."
Washington, from Wetumpka, Ala., is the favorite to succeed 2010 senior Joshua Nesbitt. When Nesbitt was lost with a broken arm, Washington started the final four games last season. The Yellow Jackets were only 1-3 with Washington to finish 6-7.
Washington said he is more comfortable this season.
"It helped a lot because being in game situations prepare you to know what to expect from a defense, the pace of the game, the speed of the game, and just being able to be in there and know what to expect," he said.
Nesbitt was a productive and powerful runner in Johnson's spread-option attack, but the Yellow Jackets were hurt by turnovers and an ineffective passing game.
Georgia Tech's 20 lost fumbles tied for the nation's lead and the Yellow Jackets completed only 38.1 percent of their passes, easily last among the 120 FBS teams, according to STATS LLC. Every other team completed at least 45 percent of its passes.
Washington (6-0, 205) completed 25 of 61 passes for 417 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. He ran for 514 yards and four touchdowns.
Senior running back Roddy Jones had to backtrack on Saturday when attempting to tell reporters that Washington's internship was proof of his intelligence.
"Tevin is a quiet guy," Jones said. "He's an Alabama guy, but he's very bright."
Jones quickly caught himself upon seeing the reaction to his comment.
"Not but!" Jones said. "I mean, he's kind of country, he sounds country and — not but, and — he's also a very intelligent guy. He's got aspirations of his own. He knows that one day football is going to end for him and he will have a backup plan.
"He's a very, very focused guy on what he needs to get done now. That's football first but also preparing for what will happen after football."