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.
Today: Defensive backs
WHO’S GONE: Sean Parker was a three-year starter at safety and a case could be made that he was the defense’s MVP last year. He finished his UW career with 245 tackles and 11 interceptions. Parker is one of three 2013 starters who have graduated from the program, along with fellow safety Will Shamburger and cornerback Gregory Ducre. Kennedy High product Tre Watson (50 tackles, 1 interceptin) emerged as one of the most valuable reserves on the entire defense; redshirt freshman Cleveland Wallace left the program in December and transferred to San Jose State.
— Marcus Peters, jr., 6-0, 190. 2013 stats: 55 tackles, 5 interceptions, 14 passes defended, 1 sack, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries. Peters enters his redshirt junior season as one of the most-talked about cornerbacks in the country, with Mel Kiper Jr. projecting him as a potential first-round pick in the NFL draft next spring.
— Travell Dixon, sr., 6-1, 195. 2013 stats: The former Alabama transfer gets one last shot to win a starting job.
— Aaron Chapman, fr., 5-11, 178. Walk-on from Bellarmine Prep in San Jose joined the team in the spring.
— Hayden Schuh, so., 6-0, 193. Walk-on from Vancouver’s Skyview High joined the team in the spring.
— Jermaine Kelly, rs-fr., 6-1, 190. 2013: Redshirted. Kelly had a solid spring and joins Dixon as the two front-runners to win the job as the corner opposite Peters.
— Brian Clay, jr., 6-1, 196. 2013 stats: Redshirted after transferring from Hawaii last September. Was a revelation in the spring, spending time at both safety and corner.
— Jonathan Kwon, sr., 5-10, 185. Walk-on from Kentridge High product joined the team in the spring.
— Brandon Beaver, so., 6-0, 192. 2013 stats: 2 tackles in 6 games as a true freshman. Made his first start in the Fight Hunger Bowl. Followed that up with a great spring before being limited for the final week of spring with what appeared to be a minor shoulder injury.
— Kevin King, so., 6-3, 183. 2013 stats: 17 tackles, 1 pass defended and 1 fumble recovery in 10 games (2 starts) as a true freshman. King sat out most of the spring while recovery from offseason shoulder surgery, but will be counted on as a regular contributor at free safety, if not the starter.
— Trevor Walker, so., 5-11, 186. 2013 stats: 6 tackles in 6 appearances as a true freshman. Walker comes off a solid spring and enters fall camp as the overwhelming favorite to win the starting job at strong safety.
— Thomas Vincent, jr., 6-0, 200. 2013 stats: Appeared in 4 games. With the lack of depth in the spring, Vincent showed well with extensive reps, running with the first-string defense at times.
— Darren Gardenhire, fr., 5-11, 173, Long Beach, Calif. (Cabrillo HS)
— Naijiel Hale, fr., 5-10, 171, Long Beach, Calif. (St. John Bosco HS)
— Sidney Jones, fr., 6-0, 171, Diamond Bar, Calif. (West Covina HS)
— Brandon Lewis, fr., 5-10, 181, Rancho Murieta, Calif. (Pleasant Grove HS)
— Budda Baker, fr., 5-10, 173, Bellevue (Bellevue HS)
— Lavon Washington, fr., 5-11, 184, Oakland, Calif. (McClymonds HS)
— Jojo McIntosh, fr., 6-1, 191, Canyon Country, Calif. (Chaminade Prep)
At this point, Peters is the only sure thing in the secondary, where three new starters must be found. There’s reason for optimism, though, with seven touted freshmen coming into the mix. Defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake said in the spring that he expects at least a couple of the freshmen to contribute — Baker and Hale are strong candidates for early playing time — and he may need even more than that. The emergence of Clay in the spring was a pleasant surprise; he can play both corner and safety, and figures to be a vital reserve, at the very least. Beaver and King both played as true freshmen in 2013, and they will battle Baker for the starting job at free safety.