Spring First Half Review - Defensive Backs

Even with the loss of their top player to graduation following the 2012 season, the Husky secondary is in great shape. The Dawgs return experience and talent and both have been on display so far this spring. Here's a look at where things stand and which players are putting their stamp on the position...

Talent and experience: Washington returns players with starting experience at all four spots in the secondary.

Gregory Ducre, Marcus Peters and Tre Watson have all started for the Dawgs at corner while Sean Parker and Will Shamburger have both started at safety.

Throw into the mix players like Travell Dixon, Taz Stevenson, Brandon Beaver, Trevor Walker and Cleveland Wallace who all have drawn praise from the coaches for their talent and the Huskies have a very nice blend of talent and experience at the position.

Ducre stakes his claim: Some thought that when Dixon tranferred in from Alabama last summer that the Huskies had found the heir apparent to Desmond Trufant. However, Ducre had something to say about things and he has been one of the top players on the team so far this spring showing outstanding ball-skills and an aggressive style that didn't seem to be there since he arrived in 2010. He is also the fastest Husky running in the 4.3 range on a consistent basis and that is something that Washington definitely needs at the position.

Will youth be served?: Beaver, a redshirt freshman, made the move to safety during the bowl practices last December and he's remained there at least during the first six practices of spring ball. He will battle with Shamburger for playing time at the free safety spot and he could even see playing time in the nickle or dime packages where the Huskies have to cover four and five-receiver sets.

Wallace, another redshirt freshman, also has shown the ability to be a real player at the position and the Husky staff seems to like his potential, but right now he's definitely behind Peters, Ducre and Dixon and is battling for that fourth corner spot with Watson, although the latter has seen increased time at safety this spring.

Even as a true freshman, Walker has looked very good, showing a knack for being around the ball and making plays when the opportunity presents itself. In one practice he had two interceptions and he's physical when he comes up to support the run.

Has Stevenson found his spot?: When he steps on the field, Stevenson is one of the most impressive looking players, measuing in at 6'2" and weighing close to 220 pounds, but he's been injured and that has kept him from meeting his potential. This spring he's been moved back from linebacker to safety and the returns have been positive although he's behind Parker who is the unquestioned leader of the deep patrol.

Parker the grey: It's hard to believe, but this will be Parker's senior season and he was even chided a bit by the media after one practice when he was asked how it felt to be the "old man" at the position. He just smiled and said he can't believe he's been at Washington for four years and that he wants a Rose Bowl before he leaves. Parker is a ballhawk, a big-hitter for his size and he's a player that defensive backs coach Keith Heyward relies heavily on to be a coach on the field when the bullets start flying.

A look at the depth: Here is my way too early, unofficial depth chart from the spring so far...

CB - Marcus Peters (RS So), Cleveland Wallace (RS Fr), Tre Watson (RS Sr)*
CB - Gregory Ducre (Sr), Travell Dixon (RS Jr)
SS - Sean Parker (Sr), Taz Stevenson (Sr), Trevor Walker (Fr)
FS - Will Shamburger (RS Sr), Brandon Beaver (RS Fr), Darien Washington (RS Fr)

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