Fall camp begins for the Huskies on Monday, and as we countdown to the start of Chris Petersen’s first season at Washington, we’ll preview each position leading up to the start of camp.
WHO’S GONE: Outside linebacker Princeton Fuimaono led the Huskies with 80 tackles (57 solo) in 2013, leaving some big shoes to fill. Thomas Tutogi (28 tackles) was a steady backup at middle linebacker, and Jamaal Kearse (13 tackles) was a key reserve, too.
— Travis Feeney, jr., 6-4, 218. 2013 stats: 55 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 6 pass break-ups, 1 fumble recovery. In terms of athletic makeup, Feeney was superior to Fuimaono. What made Fuimaono so efficient was his discipline — he was usually in the right place at the right time, and he usually made the play. Feeney, who has 11 starts to his credit in two seasons, has all the tools to be a standout OLB, and he’s a good bet for a “breakout” season.
— Keishawn Bierria, rs-fr., 6-1, 221. 2013: Redshirted. Bierria was singled out a couple times by Chris Petersen as a young guy who stood out in the spring, and with the overall limited depth at linebacker, Bierria will surely see some quality time behind Feeney (and likely on special teams) this season.
— John Timu, sr., 6-1, 246. 2013 stats: Timu enters his fourth year as UW’s full-time starter at middle linebacker, with 220 career tackles under his belt. A two-year team captain, he had one of the best games of his career in UW’s victory over BYU in the Fight Hunger Bowl, with a game-high 14 tackles, one sack and the game-clinching interception.
— Azeem Victor, rs-fr., 6-3, 244. 2013: Redshirted. Victor, like Bierria, comes off a redshirt year with expectations to emerge as one of the top reserves among the linebackers.
— Shaq Thompson, jr., 6-1, 228. 2013 stats: 78 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 5 passes defended. Expectations could not be higher for one of the best all-around athletes in the Pac-12. Shaq enters his third years as the starter at OLB, and he’ll likely add part-time duties as a running back (and kick returner) to his resume.
— Sean Constantine, rs-fr., 6-2, 224. 2013: Redshirted. The former Bellevue standout had a solid spring and will also be counted on to provide some needed depth.
— Scott Lawyer, jr., 6-2, 225. 2013: 18 tackles. Lawyer missed most of spring ball while recovery from injury, but he’s the only reserve linebacker with game experience.
— Connor O’Brien, rs-fr., 6-3, 238. 2013: Redshirted. Miss all of spring ball while recovering from injury.
— Drew Lewis, fr., 6-2, 189. The former Eastlake High standout was the only linebacker from the Class of 2014 to sign with UW.
— Matt Preston, fr., 6-2, 199, Corona, Calif. (Diamond Ranch HS)
— Jake Wambaugh, fr., 6-1, 206, San Diego, Calif. (Point Loma HS). Preston and Wambaugh joined the program this summer as invited walk-ons. For what it’s worth, Wambaugh is listed at 6-4, 250 in this story.
With Timu, Thompson and Feeney, the Huskies have as strong a starting linebacker group as anyone in the Pac-12. The best part about that is it doesn’t feel like Thompson and Feeney have reached their ceiling yet. After that, questions abound. Depth is a concern, and Lawyer is the only other linebacker with game experience.