We’re nearing the end of the countdown, and we do so with one of the most experienced players on the team — senior cornerback Desmond Trufant (pictured in last year’s USC game in an Associated Press photo).
Trufant has started the last 35 UW games since breaking into the lineup early in his true freshman season in 2009 at Stanford. No one reading this needs reminding that the UW defense has had its struggles during that time, and Trufant has not been immune.
But he’s also made his share of big plays, and has displayed a quality needed of any good cornerback — a short memory. Despite having some rough patches last year in the opener against Eastern Washington, he rallied late to make a game-saving interception, the kind of play that earned him the team’s Don James Perseverance Award at the end of the season.
It’s many of those same qualities that have made Trufant one of the most valued leaders on the team, more important than ever this season with a roster as young as Washington’s.
Trufant also appeared to be one of the players who thrived the most in the spring in the defense of new coordinator Justin Wilcox as a secondary that for the first time in a while can throw out a pretty experienced player at every spot often seemed to get the better of its offensive counterparts.
Along with Trufant’s 35 starts, junior strong safety Sean Parker has 13, fifth-year senior free safety Justin Glenn has five as well as significant action as a reserve, junior cornerback Greg Ducre has six and senior Nate Fellner — a former safety moved to outside linebacker where some of his responsibilities will overlap — has started 20.
Trufant talked candidly at Pac-12 Media Day last month about how he is looking forward to playing in a more aggressive style, one that will enable him to play more man-to-man (he’ll also be used more defending the slot).
“Speed kills,” he said. “The secondary, the D linemen are going to be blitzing and we will be using speed to our advantage.”
No. 3 — TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins
No. 4 — DT Danny Shelton
No. 5 — DE Josh Shirley
No. 6 — WR Kasen Williams
No. 7 — SS Sean Parker
No. 8 — C Drew Schaefer
No. 9 — DE Hau’oli Jamora
No. 10 — FS Justin Glenn