Statistics: 32 total tackles, 0 sacks, 0 interceptions.
What He Did In 2012: Washington did not run a simple defense in 2012. It wasn’t 4-3-4. It wasn’t even 3-4-4. It was sometimes 4-2-5 with Shaq Thompson as a roving nickelback. But, as the season went on, the sports media became more and more comfortable calling Thompson a linebacker. So then it was almost like a 4-3-4 again. Except that then, with Thompson a linebacker, what would have been considered a 3-2-5 look went back to 3-4-4. The defensive coaching staff had no reason to put labels on their schemes, at least not out loud to the media or to fans, so it really sort of depended on who you were talking to, who was analyzing. As a part of this, it sometimes got a little confusing who was playing linebacker and who was a safety, not only with Thompson but with former-safeties like Nate Fellner and Travis Feeney making the depth chart switch to ‘backer. As a result of all the confusion, guys got lost in the mix a little bit. Once they got injured, it was easy to forget they were ever there.
The guy that I probably forgot about the most throughout the season was Princeton Fuimanono. 2012 was his junior year, and he began the year as a starter. He was solid, if unspectacular, for the first three, but only recorded 1 tackle against Oregon and 1 tackle against Stanford. Then he recorded no stats against USC and played well for the next three-game stretch before suffering an injury that held him out for the final three games of the regular season. He recorded a single tackle against Boise State in the bowl game, but in the end he only contributed in a major way to 6 of Washington’s 13 games.
What I Expect Of Him In 2013: It wasn’t Fuimaono’s fault that he got hurt, but it certainly led to a bit of a lost season. He never got into a rhythm, and he never locked down his starting spot. While he will surely contribute next year, and may be considered a starter heading into 2013, I have a feeling that he will be beat out by a more dynamic player in the spring and summer. He is only 6’1″ and 210 pounds, which is really safety size, but he doesn’t fly around like safety-sized Travis Feeney, and he didn’t record any sacks or interceptions. I just think that with Feeney, Thompson (technically a starter at nickelback), and Timu already penciled in, it wouldn’t surprise me if one more player steps up to take the third linebacker spot away from Fuimaono.