Offseason spotlight: Washington

March, 4, 2014
Mar 4
9:00
AM ET
We're taking a look at a player from each Pac-12 team who could step into the spotlight in 2014.

[+] EnlargeShaq Thompson
Jesse Beals/Icon SMIShaq Thompson leads Washington's defense.
Spotlight: OLB Shaq Thompson, 6-2, 225

2013 summary: Thompson recorded 78 tackles, with four coming for a loss, 0.5 sacks and an interception.

The skinny: I know what you're thinking: Everyone knows who Shaq Thompson is. He's already in the spotlight. Well, everyone does know who Thompson is -- a touted recruit with tremendous upside. Yet while Thompson has been mostly impressive his first two seasons, he has not yet fully broken out, so to speak. He is not yet a national star. He ranked second on the Huskies in tackles and didn't contribute many big plays. He only earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors. He didn't make the Pac-12 blog's 2013 top 25 players list, and Washington fans know as well as anyone that the Pac-12 blog's top 25 players list should be carved into granite tablets, inscribed with gold leaf and placed behind a glass case in the Smithsonian. There's no question Thompson is a preternatural talent and a good leader. Heck, he could see some action on offense next year as a running back, going all Myles Jack for the Huskies. The general feeling is this will be Thompson's last season before he enters the NFL draft. He leads a Huskies defense that should be pretty darn stout next fall, at least if the secondary can be rebuilt. He should become a first-team Pac-12 guy who earns All-American consideration. If he reaches his potential, he should become a first-round NFL draft pick in 2015. But only after he earns a coveted spot near the top of the Pac-12 blog's 2014 top 25 players list.

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Ted Miller | email

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