Spring Breakout Players: No. 5

One of the biggest losses from Washington's 2012 team was senior cornerback Desmond Trufant and his 47 career starts. How do you replace that kind of experience and production? Typically you'd go right to the next guy in line, but sometimes you have another option available that can instantly make your secondary better. Washington just might have that option on their team with Travell Dixon.

Background: Dixon only played one year of high school football at Norland HS in Miami, yet in that one season he led all of Dade County with seven interceptions. He resurfaced at Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher, Ariz., where where he earned NJCAA All-America first-team honors as a sophomore in 2011. Dixon was also named all-league and all-region as a freshman at EAC in 2010. Joined the UW after the third game of the 2012 season, prior to the start of the fall academic quarter after he originally signed with Alabama in time for their spring football.

Why Dixon?: One of the big reasons Dixon left Alabama before the 2012 season was because they wouldn't settle him in at one position. During the season and also during the bowl practices, Dixon was firmly ensconced with the cornerbacks. At 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, Dixon is the kind of big, rangy, aggressive cornerbacks needed nowadays in the mold of the Seahawks' Richard Sherman. He even has Sherman's trademark dreads. And obviously Nick Saban, Kirby Smart, and the rest of the Alabama staff saw something in Dixon that makes him an instant impact player. You don't recruit a juco player to a program like Alabama unless you're expected to announce your presence the moment you hit campus. More importantly, the mandatory transfer year to UW allowed Dixon to settle in, get used to things in Seattle and ready set himself up for a serious run at playing time.

The Competition: With Trufant's spot opposite sophomore Marcus Peters completely up for grabs, there are veterans like Greg Ducre and Tre Watson that will want to lay claim to that cornerback position. Heading into spring Peters seems to be the one corner that is clearly ahead of the rest, having started the last eight games of the 2012 campaign. Ducre and Watson have a combined 12 starts between them, so it's not as if they are just going to step aside and let Dixon take it. With Brandon Beaver's move to safety there's still two redshirt frosh in Cleveland Wallace and Darien Washington that won't wait to impose themselves in their first spring too - because you never get a second chance to make a first impression. All this competition should result in some great position battles this spring, but with Dixon's size, speed, maturity and overall presence he should be a focal point in March and April as Keith Heyward sort out his cornerback depth chart.

Travell Dixon Scout.com Profile

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