The Washington Huskies feel as confident as ever about their chances to finally break through that seven-win ceiling they’ve come up against the last several years. One of the reasons for the optimism is a young and talented defense filled with playmakers. No position is quite as strong for the Dawgs in 2013 as linebacker where sophomore Travis Feeney is set to enjoy a breakout season.
Feeney gets overlooked because of the incredible talents of future NFL star Shaq Thompson playing alongside him. But during his redshirt freshman season in 2012, Feeney showed he can play too. He finished the year with 76 tackles (two more than Thompson), including six tackles for loss, four sacks and two interceptions. Feeney made the honorable mention All-Pac 12 team for his efforts and will be a popular pick to jump up to the first or second-team this season.
He provides a nice balance to the Washington linebacker corps opposite Thompson. Both are converted safeties who were still learning the position last season. They bring excellent athleticism and a nose for making plays to the edge of the defense and will only get better as they continue to get comfortable in the position. As they gain more experience, each of them should become dynamic playmakers for Steve Sarkisian off the edge.
Washington’s trio of linebackers for 2013 are all going to be excellent defenders, but none of them are poised to make as big a jump as Feeney is this season. He’ll enjoy getting to play in the shadow of Thompson so offenses will not focus on loading up to stop him, opening up lanes for him to make big plays this fall. He will likely play second-fiddle to Thompson through their entire career at UW, but that won’t make Feeney any less of an elite defender down the road.