Player Spotlight - Justin Glenn

SEATTLE - Two games after their 16-13 shock victory over USC, the 2009 Washington Huskies were on the road facing Notre Dame. The Huskies lost more than an overtime thriller that day; they lost one of their key safeties in redshirt frosh Justin Glenn. Glenn was just starting to assert himself during the first four games of the season, and was all over the field that day.

But a broken leg not only sidelined the 5-foot-11, 209-pound Glenn for the rest of 2009, it greatly affected his comeback the next season, where he was able to play in only eight of the Huskies' 13 games, coming up with only five tackles.

Glenn was not to be deterred. The free safety position opposite Sean Parker was up for grabs in 2011, and Glenn battled Nate Fellner and Will Shamburger for playing time. By the time the Huskies travelled to Nebraska, Glenn was starting - and came up with 15 tackles in the 51-38 loss to the Cornhuskers, the most tackles by any UW defender last year. Even though a foot injury suffered against Stanford kept Glenn from starting the rest of the year, he still played in all 13 games.

Numbers Never Lie - Looking at the 2011 combined defensive stats for Washington, the top four tacklers were Cort Dennison, Parker, Princeton Fuimaono and Desmond Trufant. After that? Glenn was tied with John Timu with 52 total tackles - including eight in the Alamo Bowl loss to Baylor - so if you look at the numbers, Glenn is the top returning tackler that wasn't a starter at the end of UW's regular season.

Last of the Mohicans - Along with Cody Bruns, Johri Fogerson, Anthony Gobern and Adam Long, Glenn was on the sidelines to witness the 2008 season, the first winless season for the Huskies since 1890. The 2008 recruiting class signed 26 players, so that means over 80 percent of that recruiting class is gone. How did Glenn make it through? "I'm always one to work hard and listen to the coaches and be respectful, so whoever was going to be the head guy I was going to listen and play my part and do my role. I would never be one to give attitude or something like that to get kicked off the team."

Clearing up the logjam - At the beginning of spring football, the Huskies were absolutely loaded at safety. Glenn, Parker, Shamburger, Fellner, Taz Stevenson, James Sample, Travis Feeney and Evan Zeger were all expected to compete for the four spots in the two-deeps. But with new defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox's move to a 3-4 look, Fellner, Stevenson and Zeger have all been moved closer to the line of scrimmage. With Sample and Feeney still limited with off-season shoulder surgeries, Glenn's spot in the two-deeps come fall is seemingly assured. The 'X' factor will be the arrival of Shaquille Thompson and where Wilcox and staff want to put's No. 1 safety prospect for the 2012 class. Either way, Glenn has shown he can be counted on, and the path toward playing time looks a lot clearer than it did three weeks ago.

Scouting Report - Glenn has never been blessed with size; in fact when he first came to Montlake he started out at cornerback and even played there during the spring of 2009, Steve Sarkisian's first as head coach at UW. But then he was eventually moved over to safety and has been there ever since. What Glenn doesn't have in mind-blowing athleticism, he more than makes up for in positioning, football IQ and toughness. Justin has never shied away from sticking his nose in the middle of things, as his 15 stops versus Nebraska last year attests. And the bigger the game, the bigger Glenn shows up. He just has a knack for making plays.

Just following the scheme changes that have been going on with the defense, expect more defensive backs on the field as the Huskies try to get faster to combat some of the spread attacks they'll see this fall in the Pac-12. That means hybrid players that can adapt and move to different places when needed. That's part of the reason why some of the bigger safeties have been moved up to linebacker and also why more of the remaining safeties will be used in nickel, dime and other extra defensive back packages. Because Glenn is going into his fifth season, he's seen just about everything and has the experience to pick up whatever Wilcox throws his way. In that sense, Glenn should be an invaluable contributor.

Besides versatility and a wealth of experience, Glenn adds to the veteran presence in the Huskies' secondary, joining guys like Parker and Trufant in leading some of the youngsters UW will be counting on for years to come. Glenn needs to be there for Sample, Feeney, and Thompson, and he will be. The fact that he's one of five still here and has seen the program go from the depths up through a culture change and beyond means there isn't much that's going to faze Glenn at this point in his career.

Quotable - "I'm feeling good. I'm feeling the best I have since I've been here, the strongest I've been - feeling solid. I think it's boosted me into this position where everything is clicking for me right now - mentally and physically. I feel like I'm developing into more of a leader on the defense, getting all these younger guys going. Things are going good."

Competition - As stated above, with the moves of Fellner, Stevenson and Zeger to linebacker, Glenn's spot in the safety rotation appears secure for the time being. He'll challenge Shamburger for the free safety spot opposite Parker, and there's no question Thompson could come in and surprise from the start. But as we saw with Kasen Williams last year, it does take a little while for a top recruit to come in the fall and assimilate into the system and everything that's expected of them. Glenn and Shamburger should Duke it out for the starting free safety spot, with Sample and Feeney waiting in the wings to get their shot - health willing. Top Stories