CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Just mention the name Malik Washington around Virginia coaches and you're almost guaranteed to get a smile back.

"Malik's a football player," UVA offensive coordinator Des Kitchings grinned.

The Northwestern transfer has already made an impact in the program after arriving back in January as a versatile chess piece for the coaches to move around.

"Mostly played slot at Northwestern, but you could see that he could do a lot of things," head coach Tony Elliott said, "He could catch the ball over the middle, he was very good in short area quickness and now that he's been here you're starting to see that he has what I call above-the-rim ball skills, he can go up and get the ball."

A three-time Academic All-Big Ten and one-time third team All-Big Ten selection, Washington is a very detail-oriented person, especially after taking several leadership courses at Northwestern. One key takeaway was setting goals and going into his first season with the Cavaliers, versatility was among the goals at the top.

"I got a notebook that has some goals for me and I wrote down the Paul Hornung Award, which is like the most versatile player in college football," Washington said, "So I think I can deliver in many different areas and many different teams as well. Special teams, offense, wherever that might be I think I can deliver."

Washington was not included on the initial Paul Hornung Award watch list, but the Virginia offense will give him the opportunities to. Last season with the Wildcats, Washington caught 65 passes for 694 yards -- both would have lead UVA a year ago -- and a touchdown, while also picking up a few rushing attempts and even throwing a pass.

The 5'8" receiver has worked as the starting slot receiver for UVA in fall camp, but Kitchings was not shy about what Washington brings to the offense.

"He can do a lot because he's such a football guy, he's very smart, savvy, plays good in space, he's tough, he's built like a running back," Kitchings said, "I was joking with him yesterday, we had some perimeter stuff and he was blocking guys up and it's like thank you for bringing that Big Ten blocking to us."

As the older guy in a young UVA receiver room, players have leaned on Washington for tips. Junior receiver Malachi Fields says Washington brings "a new energy" to the field with his play.

"He brings a sense of professionalism to our room, to our offense, to our team every single day," wide receivers coach Adam Mims said, "He's a tremendous, tremendous talent and he's going to be successful in whatever he chooses to do, but as far as right now he's going to be a big asset for us."

The other goals written down in Washington's notebook include a minimum of 1,000 yards receiving and a certain number of catches. But for the player with goals in football and beyond it also includes a degree, connections and a championship.

"That's my number one goal is to leave here with a Master's degree, leave with some connections to go into life with, outside of football, I want to be a connected individual," Washington said, "But also I came here to win an ACC Championship, I came here to make it to the next level."