Washington football is known for developing excellent defensive backs and it’s time for the next stars to emerge.
Former defensive backs coach and eventual head coach Jimmy Lake was responsible for developing a number of standouts over the years including Marcus Peters, Sidney Jones IV, Kevin King, Budda Baker, Byron Murphy, Trent McDuffie, Kyler Gordon, and Elijah Molden.
While last year marked the first season without Lake on the coaching staff since 2013, his absence was not the cause of the secondary’s struggles. The Huskies’ secondary suffered a serious setback last season as they struggled with injuries throughout. However, his year is shaping up to be different after a strong spring preview.
Emerging talents: Washington football’s secondary rises
As we look ahead to the 2023 season, the addition of a strong secondary will play a critical role in making this team a top competitor in the Pac-12. The UW certainly has the talent to do so as the projected starters consist of Mishael Powell at the “Husky” hybrid position, Asa Turner and Dominique Hampton at safety, and Jabbar Muhammad and Elijah Jackson at cornerback.
Mishael Powell’s versatility and skill set make him an ideal fit for the Husky position. Known for his physicality and coverage abilities, Powell has the potential to make a significant impact on the defense. According to Dawgman.com, Powell expressed complete confidence in his ability to lead the defense, stating that he is “100% comfortable” in recognizing routes and making the necessary adjustments to the coverage.
Asa Turner and Dominique Hampton are two talented safeties who possess the necessary instincts and athleticism to excel in their respective roles.
At cornerback, Jabbar Muhammad and Elijah Jackson bring their own unique strengths to the table. Muhammad, a transfer from Oklahoma State, has demonstrated exceptional ball skills, while Jackson’s speed and agility make him an intimidating matchup for opposing receivers.
Washington football certainly has a solid foundation for an impactful secondary. However, depth at this position will be crucial, as injuries can quickly disrupt the unit’s effectiveness—as we saw last season. If the projected starters can’t play, the Huskies will key to turn to key depth players in safeties Makell Esteen, Kamren Fabiculanan, and cornerback Thaddeus Dixon, among others.