The Washington Huskies enjoyed a defensive turnaround in 2012 under first year defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox. The key to that turnaround was the arrival of freshman Shaq Thompson in the secondary who lived up to the hype during his recruitment. As Thompson comes back for his second season in Seattle, Wilcox is going to expand the young defensive back’s role in the Huskies’ defense and unleash Thompson on a playmaker against the rest of the Pac 12.
Even as a freshman, it was clear to many that Thompson was the most talented member of the Washington defense a year ago. The coaching staff, not wanting to overwhelm the young man, spoon-fed the defense to Thompson, using him almost exclusively in the nickel linebacker position. Even in a limited role, Thompson finished fifth on the team with 74 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and three interceptions.
In his sophomore season, expect to see the training wheels come off Thompson. Wilcox is planning on lining the safety up all over the field and use him in every possible way to disrupt offenses next season. That means Thompson will not only be dropping into coverage, but coming off the edge and using his speed and athleticism to rush the passer off the edge.
Shaq Thompson came to Washington and immediately looked like the best player on the field. In 2013, the sophomore will get his chance to prove it by becoming the focal point of the Dawgs’ attack and stepping up as one of the elite playmakers not only in the Pac 12, but in all of college football.