After an outstanding freshman season, Washington football’s sophomore sensation is ready to make the case that he’s the nation’s top cornerback
Washington football didn’t need Trent McDuffie to play as a true freshman. With uber-athlete Kyler Gordon and Dominique Hampton, who’s built like a linebacker in front of him during camp, McDuffie shocked some when he cracked the initial two-deep roster before 2019’s opener against Eastern Washington.
After the Cal game, McDuffie started every game for the remainder of the season. He didn’t need to, but he forced the coaching staff’s hand and they gave him an opportunity. And what did he do with it? Just prove that he was the best cornerback in his class outside of LSU’s Derek Stingley Jr.
During his first year on Montlake, McDuffie racked up 39 tackles, two passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and an interception. Pro Football Focus’ college division named him as one of the 50 best college football players during the 2019 season, and a top-five returning player for the 2020 season.
This year, he has an opportunity to overtake Stingley as the best corner in his class (and arguably in the country). McDuffie plays in the country’s best secondary, and with two seniors in Keith Taylor and Elijah Molden starting with him at corner, he’s probably the most likely of the three to get tested.
In Pete Kwiatkowski’s defense with the talent around him, McDuffie will have an opportunity to shine. Molden is the best slot corner in the country, so McDuffie will be isolated on the outside exclusively. Even in a shortened season, expect a bump in his stats as teams try to look for a weakness in his game. The incredible athlete is also a film buff who’s always looking to improve on his talents, and Husky fans probably won’t see him get beat very much in 2020.
McDuffie is also listed as the team’s primary punt returner, and he’ll have plenty of opportunities to display his athleticism on special teams.
Whenever he decides to declare for the NFL draft, he’ll probably end up as a first-round pick. While NFL teams might not value him in the same light that they do Stingley, but McDuffie projects as a number one corner at the NFL level, and a future star for whoever decides to take a chance on him.