Better Worse Or Neutral: Safeties

Otto Greule Jr

The Huskies return one of the best safeties in the conference and one big question mark beside him.

Returning Players: Brandon Beaver (RS-FR), Sean Parker (Sr), Will Shamburger (Sr), Taz Stevenson (Sr)

Losses: Justin Glenn

Additions: Patrick Enewally, Trevor Walker

From the above listing, it looks like safety is a really weak position in terms of quantity of players. And it may be the thinnest position on the team, but there's a lot of interplay between corners and safeties in the way that Keith Heyward moves guys back and forth and has them learn both positions. So while guys like Tre Watson and Travell Dixon don't appear on this list, they're very much in play at this position.

The loss of Justin Glenn is tough. He was a guy who played throughout his entire career - which seemed like it lasted about 8 seasons - and consistently made plays on the ball. It's tough to replace that kind of experience, especially when the players in contention to replace him who do have some experience don't have his talent.

Sean Parker is entrenched here. He's a three year starter, just got done serving as one of the team's representatives at media day, will be a captain, and is the leader of the defense. There's no question mark at that safety position. Parker will be in contention for All Conference recognition and if things break his way he could be in the discussion for national recognition.

The question we're looking for an answer to is: who will be Parker's running mate? At various times through the spring Will Shamburger and Brandon Beaver each looked to be the favorite, and even true freshman Trevor Walker had his moments. Shamburger has a lot of experience and has played a lot of football for the Huskies, but Beaver might be too talented to hold off. What we may see is something similar to the cornerback position battle last season opposite Desmond Trufant, where an older guy - Shamburger - starts the season (as Watson did), only to give way to the younger Beaver as he gets some game experience and proves himself capable (like Marcus Peters a season ago).

The Verdict: Worse. Until someone shows they can be a consistent performer at safety, this position is going to be a question mark. Justin Glenn was a really good player for the Huskies, and his career was probably a bit underrated. It's hard to say one of the players left on the roster will be able to just step in and replicate his production. We've seen enough of Will Shamburger to know that he's probably going to be serviceable, but always about a grade below what the team got from Glenn. On the other hand, Brandon Beaver was a big get when he committed, and drew a lot of praise from Steve Sarkisian and Sean Parker at media day. Washington had some pretty good success with a couple of redshirt freshmen stepping into starting roles on the defense last year (Travis Feeney, Peters), and maybe that continues in 2013 with Beaver. If it does, this unit could be very good, but he's got to show it first.

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