A position-by-position analysis of the 2014 Washington Huskies roster before national signing day on Feb. 5. Today: Secondary. Thursday: Specialists.
2013 review: Three senior starters and the emergence of sophomore Marcus Peters as a lockdown corner helped the Huskies rank 10th in the nation with a pass defense rating of 107.5. UW allowed 15 touchdown passes in 13 games last season while piling up 16 interceptions (13 of which came from the secondary). Peters had five interceptions and 14 pass breakups — both team highs — to earn second-team all-Pac-12 honors, and Sean Parker again earned honorable-mention status in his third and final season as a starting safety. Will Shamburger and Greg Ducre didn’t get much acclaim, but they were good examples of serviceable seniors filling key roles.
2014 projected spring depth chart:
Marcus Peters, jr., 5-11, 193
Travell Dixon, sr., 6-1, 196
Caleb Taylor, rs-fr., 6-1, 185
Jermaine Kelly, rs-fr., 6-2, 183
Patrick Enewally, rs-fr., 6-1, 184
Kendyl Taylor, so., 5-10, 198
Kyle Nelson, rs.-fr., 5-11, 170
Kevin King, so., 6-2, 178
Thomas Vincent, jr., 6-0, 199
Brian Clay, jr., 6-1, 190
Brandon Beaver, so., 6-0, 192
Trevor Walker, so., 5-11, 187
2014 outlook: Well, if you’re only going to have one returning starter, Peters is a great place to start. After that … uff dah. There is talent at the position, but it’s largely unproven. King was the first true freshman to start for UW in 2013 (against Colorado) and drew solid reviews before a lingering shoulder injury shut him down in December. Beaver started the Fight Hunger Bowl in place of the suspended Shamburger, and Walker also contributed throughout the season in a reserve role. Dixon has been an enigma since transferring from Eastern Arizona College following a brief stint at Alabama. Taylor, who played in 13 games as a true freshman running back and receiver in 2012, split time between offense and defense while redshirting last season. (I list him here on defense based on need and, frankly, I just don’t see a spot for him on offense; that doesn’t mean he can’t earn a spot back there in the spring and summer.) There is help on the way: UW currently has five recruits committed for the Class of 2014 — plus Bellevue star Budda Baker says he is down to UW and UCLA. Regardless, expect some growing pains — to put it politely — for the young secondary early next season.
Position grade: C-