The Washington Huskies will return 20 starters on offense and defense next season, giving the Dawgs a great shot at finally making it past that seven-win ceiling Steve Sarkisian seems stuck under. However, one position they are looking for fresh faces at is free safety following the graduation of Justin Glenn. With no clear successor waiting in the wings, Sarkisian has opened up the competition this spring. Who will come out on top?
Whoever does will have some big shoes to fill. Glenn finished No. 4 on the team in tackles last season when he recorded 76 tackles, including one for loss, to go with a team-leading three interceptions. Senior Will Shamburger, who finished 2012 with 21 tackles and a fumble recovery for a touchdown, has taken a large portion of the first-team snaps through the early part of spring practice, but he has by no means locked up the job for next fall.
Several other players are getting their opportunity to show what they can do in the position as well. True freshman Trevor Walker, seniors Taz Stevenson and Tre Watson and redshirt freshman Brandon Beaver will round out the competition as spring practices heat up, each bringing some kind of baggage to overcome. Stevenson is making the move back to safety this season after spending parts of 2012 at both linebacker and running back, Watson was a cornerback in 2012 and Beaver has been limited early on this spring with a sports hernia injury.
Defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox is going to see what each player can do at the free safety spot, telling reporters that the competition would likely continue deep into fall camp. With the pressure to win next season ratcheted up in Seattle, you can bet that the coaching staff is going to put the best player on the field and that they are going to do their due diligence in finding him, no matter how long it takes.