We’ll continue the countdown with a player who will be one of the key’s to UW’s defense this season — end Hau’oli Jamora.
Jamora, a true sophomore listed at 6-3, 238 (though a little heavier than that now), played in all 13 games as a true frosh last year, starting the last seven after an injury to Talia Crichton.
And once in the lineup, he turned into one of UW’s most productive players, ranking sixth on the team in tackles with 49, fourth in sacks with three and fourth in tackles-for-a-loss with eight.
He capped it off with a standout performance in the Holiday Bowl when he made three tackles-for-a-loss and one sack (pictured above is one of the tackles in that game in a Dean Rutz photo).
He cemented his place as a starter with a strong spring, now appearing set as a foundation piece of the UW defense for the next three years.
Jamora appeared to have bulked up a bit in the spring, making him sturdier against the run, and was also disruptive in the five-man front that the Huskies used a lot working in tandem with rush end Josh Shirley (as an aside, it’s probably too early to put Shirley on such a list, but it will be little surprise if he belonged on one at mid-season).
The Huskies hope the Jamora-Everrette Thompson-Shirley-Crichton end grouping paired with Alameda Ta’amu, Sione Potoa’e and whoever else emerges inside will give UW a better defensive line than it had most of last year.
Despite the improved play at the end of last season, the Huskies ranked 97th nationally against the run and eighth in the Pac-10, allowing 190 yards per game and was sixth in the conference in sacks at 2.15 per game.
The Holiday Bowl performance, when UW held Nebraska to 91 yards rushing on 41 attempts (including five sacks that accounted for minus-43 yards) validated the late-season improvement — the Huskies allowed just 125 yards rushing in the last four games.
Maintaining that performance from start-to-finish this year would go a long way toward returning the Huskies to the post-season, and Jamora will be a key part of that effort.