Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Biggest shoes to fill: Washington
By Kevin Gemmell
Starters in, starters out. That’s college football. Players’ eligibility expires, and they leave for the rest of their lives, whether that includes the NFL or not.
And they leave behind shoes of various sizes that need to be filled.
Our concern with this series? The biggest shoes -- in some cases Shaq-like size 23s.
Biggest shoes: Cornerback Desmond Trufant
The First-Team All-Conference defensive back was a staple at the position for the Huskies, starting 45 straight games at one point in his career. He was honored with the team's Guy Flaherty award -- Washington's oldest and most prestigious team award. He was a captain and posted 36 tackles in 2012, including 27 solo. He also registered 4.5 tackles for a loss, a sack and one interception. He didn't have the big numbers like a lot of other defensive backs -- in terms of pass breakups and defended -- but that's because teams respected him enough to throw the other way. He was 12th in the league in passes defended. But he still finished the year with a team high nine breakups and 10 passes defended. He also forced a fumble, blocked a kick and recovered a fumble.
Stepping in: It's almost a sure thing that Marcus Peters will continue to start on the opposite side. But who exactly steps in for Trufant remains to be seen. It could be Tre Watson or Greg Ducre. Transfer Travell Dixon could also be in the mix. Dixon is a JC transfer (who spent a spring at Alabama) and becomes eligible in the fall after joining the team in the middle of last season. Watson started the first five games last season and appeared in all 13. Ducre picked up a start when Trufant was injured against Colorado and also appeared in every game last season. Peters -- who started the final eight games last year -- shared the team high in interceptions with three and Watson also had a pick. No doubt Trufant -- who may end up being a first-round draft pick -- leaves a big hole. But there is good experience and depth so the Huskies don't have to reinvent the wheel at the position.