It's no secret that the 21st century has been nothing like the 20th century for Husky Football, It began late in the 20th; right when Rick Neuheisel was hired.
Husky DB coach, Keith Heyward is in his second year. Photo by Chris Mast (c) 2013 Realdawg.com
It's also no secret that this has been the direct result of a lack of smash-mouth defensive play; the thing that put Washington football on the map during most of the James era.
So with the big bodies up front and the athleticism at backer, the Huskies now have coaches in place who have already shown, in just one season, what a difference the right coaching can make.
What is truly amazing, however, is the fact that Washington is becoming a program that has so much talent in the secondary that there's mixing and matching going on right now -- anyone could move from corner to safety -- or back to corner again. It just depends on what's needed.
The beauty here is that they have the depth to do this type of tinkering with the DBs now at Washington.
"It's a good problem to have", defensive backs coach, Keith Heyward told Realdawg.com recently.
This is why the Huskies are able to take a safety extraordinaire like Shaq Thompson and put him at linebacker -- where he's needed. He could still play the part of a rover too, but the depth and talent amongst the safeties and corners is enough to be able to share a guy like Thompson.
So let's take a look at who's coming in with the 2013 class, and where things are at with the roster this spring.
Jermaine Kelly -- could play safety or corner. At 6-1, 180 he's exactly what the doctor ordered in terms of size, agility, and a readiness to compete.
Kevin King -- another tall one at 6-2, 170. Watch what happens when he gets into the Husky weight room too. King is the real deal and will also be available to play either spot in the backfield from the get-go.
Trevor Walker -- already enrolled and participating in spring ball. Walker will definitely be on the field by next fall if he continues to develop as he has already done so this spring.
Patrick Enewally -- Patrick is that tall corner that Heyward likes, similar to Marcus Peters but could appear sooner on the field. Could develop into a Desmond Trufant type corner.
The fact is, any one of these kids could get on the field early and often in 2013. As always, it's on them and how much they show at fall camp -- with Walker having a leg up on the competition because he's enrolled earlier. But here's where it gets really sick...
Really? Without question, the last line of defense for the Huskies is something Husky fans have every reason to get extremely excited about. This is one of the most talent-laden secondaries in the country -- and that's not just idle chatter.
Keith Heyward said, straight up, that UW had the potential to have one of the most elite in college football over the next two years. Signing Shaq Thompson was a big part of that, but even with Thompson going to linebacker, it doesn't change that prospect.
Most Husky fans miss the days of Parrish and Milloy, and those were good, winning times for the program, but who'd have thought that Washington could become a dominating force in the defensive back corps?
The biggest challenge Steve Sarkisian will face over the next few years will be keeping Heyward on his staff. But that's a bridge that all coaches know comes around at some point and they don't cross it unless it actually presents itself. For now, Sarkisian can sleep a little better at night knowing that he has an embarrassment of riches with his secondary.
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