The outside linebackers are out.
“EDGE” and “Husky” are in position.
But the changes surrounding UW’s defense amount to more than just the label. After Kellan DeBoer was hired to replace Jimmy Lake in Washington, he brought in a pair of Fresno state assistants—Chuck Morell and William Inge—to serve as co-defensive coordinators in Seattle. At UW, he would be tasked with bolstering a defense that excelled against passes (ranking nationally in defense and opponent yards per pass attempts) but struggled to prevent runs (eliminating 105).th Per carry and 109 in opponent yardsth In the run to the rescue) last fall.
Without standout corners Trent McDuffie and Kyler Gordon – as well as Lake – is UW still worth the DBU billing? And will the Huskies effectively plug the run and run the passerby in 2022?
While we wait for answers — as well as Washington’s first spring practice on Wednesday — let’s dive into UW’s defensive depth charts.
Tully Letuligasenoa, Jr., 6-2, 300, Concord, Calif.
Jacob Bandes, Sof., 6-2, 295, Pittsburgh, Calif.
Cuao Pehopa, RS. Fr., 6-3, 300, Makakilo, Hawaii
Ulumu Alley, Jr., 6-6, 355, Tacoma
Ciaosi Finau, RS. Fr., 6-3, 315, Maui, Hawaii
Jevon Parker, Fr., 6-3, 296, Detroit
Fatui Tuitele, Sof., 6-3, 305, Honolulu
Voi Tunuufi, soph., 6-1, 275, South Jordan, Utah
Draco Bynum, Jr., 6-4, 280, Wilsonville, Ore.
Noah Ngalu, Sof., 6-1, 275, East Palo Alto, Calif.
Armon Parker, Fr., 6-3, 284, Detroit;
Analysis: Simply put, UW needs more than just their defensive line. As noted above, the Huskies surrendered 194 rushing yards per game and 4.76 yards per carry last season, an astonishing plummet for a unit that excelled at stopping the very first run. Two-year starter Sam “Taki” Taimani was also transferred to rival Oregon, leaving a gap — or opportunity — in the middle of UW’s defensive line.
Junior Tuli Letuligasenoa is an established starter, and Fatui Tuitele and Jacob Bandes will be asked to contribute as well. Voi Tunuufi – who shared the team-lead with three sacks as a true freshman – could emerge further into his second season, and could also be looking for redshirt freshman Kuao Pehopa to push for play time.
Zion Tupuola-Fetui, Jr., 6-4, 260, Pearl City, Hawaii
Jeremiah Martin, Sr., 6-3, 270, San Bernardino, Calif. (Texas A&M)
Jordan Lolohia, Sof., 6-2, 265, Salt Lake City
Bralane Trice, Sof., 6-4, 260, Phoenix
Sewell Smalls, Sof., 6-3, 250, Seattle
Maurice Hemes, RS. Fr., 6-5, 255, Hamburg, Germany
Lance Holtzclaw, Fr., 6-3, 201, Dorchester, Mass.
Analysis: Zion Tupuola-Fetui blasted for seven sacks and three forced fumbles in just four games in 2020, leading the country with 1.75 sacks per game. But after tearing his Achilles tendon last April, he has managed just eight tackles and a sack in the last five games.
What version of “ZTF” will we see this season?
The answer can go a long way in determining the UW’s sharp-edged prowess (or lack thereof). But UW can also expect an additional contribution from redshirt sophomore Bralen Trice, who collected five tackles and two sacks to make up for the loss in his first meaningful playing time in 2021. It may also be time for sophomore Savell Smalls – a five-star recruit in 2020. – To play to the best of your ability.
The Huskies don’t have a lot of depth in the “EDGE” position, so they’ll need “ZTF” and others to make solid progress.
Edefuan Ulofoshio, Jr., 6-1, 235, Anchorage, Alaska
Carson Brunner, Sof., 6-2, 230, Woodinville;
Alfonzo Tuputla, Sof., 6-2, 230, Federal Way
Cam Bright, Sr., 6-1, 220, Montgomery, Ala. (Pittsburgh)
Daniel Heimuly, sof., 6-0, 225, East Palo Alto, Calif.
Demario King, Jr., 6-3, 215, Los Alamitos, Calif. (Cerritos CC)
Analysis: Sometimes, injuries provide opportunities. And after established starter Edifuan Ulofosio went down in the middle of the 2021 season, redshirt freshman Carson Brunner emerged immediately – 70 tackles (second on the team), 2.5 tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles, 1.5 sacks and five starts and 11 in one. interception game
Still, the return of Ulofosio – as well as the addition of fifth-year senior and Pitt captain Cam Bright – could oust Brunner from the starting lineup.
For Huskies, this is a good problem.
Suddenly, a defense that has long lacked linebacker depth boasts five conceivable contributors to Ulofoscio, Bright, Brunner, Daniel Heimuly and Alfonzo Tuputla. Cerritos Community College transfer DeMario King will also try to make a positive first impression.
Dominic Hampton, Jr., 6-2, 220, Glendale, Ariz.
Kamren Fabiculanen, Sof., 6-1, 190, Camarillo, Calif.
Tristan Dunn, Fr., 6-4, 188, Sumner
Analysis: Dominic Hampton—who, at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, straddles the line between a defensive back and linebacker—seems perfectly suited for the role “Husky”, a hybrid nickel capable of Must cover the area effectively while at the same time scoring runs. The Hampton’s primary competition at that location will be Kamren Fabiculanen this spring, though freshman safety Tristan Dunn could also join the fray this summer.
Jacobe Covington and Asa Turner are the two other options with the size and speed to potentially succeed in this position, competing in the “Husky” spot as UW cross-train defensive backs.
Jordan Perryman, Sr., 6-0, 201, Hanford, Calif. (UC Davis)
Elijah Jackson, RS. fr., 6-1, 195, Carson, Calif.
Dyson McCutchon, RS. FR., 5-10, 170, Claremont, Calif.
Devon Banks, rs. fr., 5-11, 185, San Jacinto, Calif.
Michelle Powell, Sof., 6-1, 200, Seattle
Jacobe Covington, Sof., 6-2, 195, Chandler, Ariz.
Zakhari Spears, rs. Fr., 6-1, 195, Los Angeles
Javian Green, Fr., 6-2, 196, Houston
Analysis: Given the NFL departures of McDuffie and Gordon…
On paper, Perryman appears to have an easy answer, having transferred from UC Davis with just one season of eligibility remaining. The 6-0, 201-pounder certainly looks the part and has earned good reviews from Husky coaches throughout winter conditioning, too.
On the other hand, Powell – who earned a scholarship this off-season – should be given an early lead, given that he started three games last. But Jacoby Covington, Elijah Jackson and Zachary Spears also have long, athletic corners that could potentially push for play time.
Alex Cook, Sr., 6-1, 195, Sacramento, Calif.
Cameron Williams, Jr., 6-0, 200, Bakersfield, Calif.
Machel Estein, RS. Fr., 6-1, 180, Hawthorn, Calif.
Asa Turner, Jr., 6-3, 205, Carlsbad, Calif.
Julius Irwin, Jr., 6-1, 185, Anaheim, Calif.
Vincent Nunnally, RS. Fr., 6-1, 180, Oakland, Calif.
Tristan Dunn, Fr., 6-4, 188, Sumner
Analysis: Senior Alex Cook could be penciled in for a starting safety spot, after providing a physical appearance (plus 46 tackles) in 11 games and nine starts last fall. But although juniors Asa Turner, Cameron Williams and Julius Irwin have all seen the field in Seattle, none have isolated themselves at the back end of UW’s defense.
Which, along with a new coaching staff, should make the competition particularly interesting this spring. Who Will Impress New UW Co-Defensive Coordinator and Safari Coach Chuck Morrell? Is it possible that Huskies may eventually discover more established protections through the relocation portal?
While UW corners have continued to impress over the past several seasons, Husky Safaris cannot say the same. It’s time to pack a more substantial punch for that situation.