Defensive back has been a position of strength in the past for the University of Washington. The Huskies have been known for players such as Lawyer Malloy, Tony Parish, and record holder Al Worley. Worley’s 14 interceptions in 1968 still stand as the most in a single season.
The 2009 edition of the secondary proved to be young and porous, but with a ton of potential as we look towards 2010. Washington’s 240 yards a game yielded through the air ranked at 90th in the nation. While the pass defense statistics don’t look very good, another statistic gives a lot of hope towards the future—five freshmen played in 2009.
Only one senior played in 2009, and the majority of the playing time went to the younger players. The secondary coaching staff consists of Demetrice Martin for cornerbacks and Jeff Mills for the safeties. Let’s take a look at the two deeps going into the 2010 season.
Cornerback Desmond Trufant, Freshman
Trufant took over the cornerback position for the final eight games as a true freshman. He provided two interceptions, six pass breakups, and 47 total tackles. Trufant didn’t start going into 2009, but looks to be a lock to start in 2010.
Behind him is junior Vonzell McDowell. McDowell appeared in all 12 games and contributed 17 tackles. He will be returning for his senior season adding experience and depth to the unit.
Cornerback Adam Long, Freshmen
Long started five of the last six games during his freshman season, and appeared in 11 games total. He provided 35 tackles and seven pass breakups. Like Trufant, did not become a starter until later in the season, but looks to take that role for 2010.
Quinton Richardson started the first six games of the season, and played in 11 games. He provided 26 tackles and two pass breakups. As a sophomore he will also be returning next season.
Free Safety Nathan Fellner, Freshmen
The free safety position was a bit of a revolving door for 2009 with senior Nate Williams starting the final three games. In all, five players were used at this position. Fellner started two games and appeared in nine. Fellner provided 17 tackles and a half a sack on the season.
Competing with Fellner for playing time will be another player who got time as a freshman, Greg Walker. Walker started the first game of the season, and played in 12. He provided 20 tackles on the season.
Strong Saftey Nate Williams, Junior
Williams, the elder statesman of the returning secondary, started the nine games at strong safety, including the last five. Playing in 11 games total, he provided 62 tackles and a sack on the season. He will be returning for his senior season in 2010 and should provide leadership at the safety position.
Behind Williams is junior Victor Aiyewa. He provided 18 tackles and three pass break-ups in 11 games. Aiyewa will be returning for his senior season giving the Huskies a veteran two deep at strong safety.
With the amount of youth in the secondary during the 2009 season it is not surprising that the 2010 class looks to bring in three defensive back recruits at this time. Here is a quick look at the three.
Taz Stevenson , Safety
Stevenson is a 6'2", 190 pound safety prospect from Mililani High School in Mililani, Hawaii. There were no stats available on MaxPreps for the 2009 season, but his scouting report from Tom Lemming mentions he has a strong ability to read defenses, track the ball, and has good hands as a high school wide receiver and running back.
John Timu , Safety
Timu is a 6'2", 195 pound safety prospect from Jordan High School in Long Beach, Cal. Timu runs a 4.5 40-yard dash, and has the ability to play multiple positions.
MaxPreps lists him as a quarterback prospect. His junior season he had 1,395 passing yards and 642 rushing yards, with 27 tackles from the safety position. He is an excellent athlete that will find his way on the field somewhere, with safety being the projection.
Keanon Lowe , Defensive Back
Lowe is a 5'10", 170 defensive back prospect from Jesuit High School in Portland, Ore. Running a 4.40 40-yard dash, he played the running back position in high school too. At the running back position, he put up 1,213 yards this season, and provided four interceptions on defense.
He is listed as an athlete by Rivals and a cornerback by Scout , but could see the field on offense or defense. He does prefer to play offense, but may find more playing time on defense.
For the 2010 season the outlook looks excellent. With so many young players getting game experience there should be an improvement in the numbers. It isn’t that they had playing time, but the players seemed to improve as the season went on as well.
Losing only one player from last year will help with the cohesiveness and familiarity of the unit with each other. Washington should expect a much stronger secondary for 2010.