There are few sure things in recruiting these days, but the No. 1 defensive back in the nation is as close as it comes. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound do-everything safety prospect originally committed to Cal, but switched when the Huskies lured Lupoi away from Tightwad Hill. Thompson has a Sean Taylor-esque size and speed combination which will allow new coordinator Justin Wilcox to use the uber-frosh in a variety of ways — close to the line in a hybrid outside backer position, a rangy, high point safety or man-up on bigger tight ends on the outside. And if that isn’t enough, there have been hints at potential snaps on offense, where Thompson got plenty of experience as a Wildcat quarterback at Grant Union High School in Sacramento, Calif. Simply put, this is a special football player that will likely haunt Cal fans for the next three years.
The big ugly from famed Celebrity High, Oaks Christian High School, enters his third season on campus as one of the more important offensive pieces to Coach Sark’s puzzle. The 6-foot-5, 300-pounder played in 11 games — getting five starts — as a true freshman back in 2010 before starting all 13 games at right tackle last fall. Like Schaefer, Kohler missed some spring football dealing with an off-season staph infection. He worked with the second unit as both a center and guard, but should slide back to his comfortable slot at right tackle come this fall.
The fulcrum of the Washington offensive line for the last two seasons returns as one of the most experienced offensive players on the roster. After working his way into the starting line-up as a redshirt freshman by the end of 2009, the 6-foot-4, 287-pound center then started every game in 2010 and 2011. In fact, he played every snap of the season last fall, helping pave the way for Chris Polk for every game of his career. The in-state product has dealt with a minor knee issue this spring but expects to be right back over the ball where he belongs by fall camp.
The Fontana, Calif., defender has a chance to be one of the most dynamic players in the conference after a troubled and circuitous route — through jail — landed Shirley in Seattle. Originally signing with UCLA, the end/backer combo was dismissed from the Bruins after being arrested on suspicion of stealing a purse early in the summer of 2010. He signed with Washington in July, redshirted that fall, and played in all 13 games last season. As only a freshman, the 6-foot-3, 235-pound hybrid led the team in sacks with 8.5 and finished with 28 total tackles and 12 tackles for a loss. His speed up the field and overall versatility should make him all the more dangerous as a sophomore in 2012.
The big defensive end is looking to rebound in 2012 after a season-ending knee injury early in the Cal game cost him most of the 2011 season. Husky fans are hoping for the 6-foot-3, 256-pound Laie, Hawaii, lineman to return to his freshman form that earned him team Freshman of the Year honors. He posted 49 total tackles, eight tackles for a loss and three sacks back in 2010. He was on pace to top those numbers with 15 total tackles, three tackles for a loss and one sack in the first three games. Look for new defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi to work Jamora back into form following the injury.
It took only a few games early in Trufant's career for him to claim a starting spot on the Husky defense. He earned the Travis Spring Most Outstanding Freshman Award after nine starts and 47 total tackles. The honorable mention All-Pac-10 corner started all 13 games as a sophomore before returning to the all-conference team as a junior in 2011. The Tacoma, Wash., product set career highs in total tackles (64) and pass break-ups (14) as a junior and enters his final season in Seattle with his sights set on first-team All-Pac-12 honors.
Hailing from storied Skyline High School in Sammamish, Wash., Williams came to Seattle as one of the most decorated prospects in recent memory. As a senior in high school, Williams became the first Evergreen State prospect to earn the Parade All-America National Player of the Year award. He was the No. 8 wide receiver in the nation, and once on campus, he didn’t disappoint. He posted 36 receptions for 427 yards and six trips to pay dirt while also acting as the team’s top punt returner. If the second half of his season is any indication — 24 rec., 330 yards, 4 TDs in the final six games — then the Huskies should have little trouble replacing the production of departed seniors Jermaine Kearse and Devin Aguilar.
Parker signed with Washington out of Los Angeles as the No. 6 defensive back prospect in the nation and the No. 16 overall Pac-12 recruit in 2010. Touted as a future leader, he didn’t disappoint as a freshman, playing in nine games before missing the final four due to injury. He entered full-time starting duty as only a sophomore, and after a 91-tackle season, is the leading returning tackler for Washington. He also led the team with four interceptions. Undoubtedly, the new defensive coaches on Steve Sarkisian’s staff will be looking to the Husky Fever 12th Man Award winner for leadership and discipline in 2012.
Husky fans should be able to remember the last time they signed a superstar in-state sure-fire tight end prospect. His name was Kavario Middleton and he turned out to be anything but sure-fire. Seferian-Jenkins inked with Washington as the No. 3 tight end in the nation and the No. 3 overall Pac-12 recruit in 2011. And in one year, the 6-foot-6, 258-pound Fox Island native has proven his recruiting hype was completely justified. He started 10 of his 13 games and finished No. 2 in Washington true freshman history with 538 yards receiving. His efforts, which include 41 receptions and six touchdowns, earned him honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors a year ago and he enters only his sophomore year as a preseason first-team all-conference player.
In only one season as the starter, Price has already begun to cement his legacy as one of the top Husky signal callers in the long and storied history of Washington football. He still has lots of winning (and passing) to do to be compared with historic names like Hobert, Moon or Tuiasosopo, but in one short year, Price set single-season UW records for touchdown passes (33), completion percentage (66.9%) and passer efficiency (161.09). Additionally, his 3,063 yards were No. 2 all-time in school history and his 242 completions were third. After leading Washington to its first winning season since 2002, Price now enters his junior season with sights set much higher than the Alamo Bowl.
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