Additions: Budda Baker, Darren Gardenhire, Jojo McIntosh, Lavon Washington
Over the past several seasons, the safety position has been racked by attrition. Players have left the program (James Sample) or been moved to positions that better suit their skill set (Shaq Thompson, Travis Feeney) resulting in a lack of depth that was apparent last season when despite starting two seniors, the Huskies played two true freshmen regularly as their backups.
There's no quick fix, and the process of bringing in more capable bodies to fill the position was started by the previous staff and continued through the most recent recruiting class. The resultant youth movement means that the Huskies will have a lot of competition on the back end and be faced with putting a couple of talented but unproven players on the field at safety.
Walker and King as freshmen probably both could have used redshirt seasons, but when they were on the field they acquitted themselves well. The played regular minutes at points in the game that were not insignificant, and the safety position never felt like a liability regardless of which combination of players was out there a year ago. King especially played a lot, and may have even been the best coverage safety the Huskies had a year ago.
There's a lot of excitement surrounding Budda Baker, a player that some think is the most talented player to come out of the state of Washington in some time. He's done nothing but excel and win throughout his football career to this point, whether it was in middle school, high school, or all-star camps. It seems not so much a matter of if Baker will insert himself into the starting lineup, but when.
Verdict: Worse. The Huskies have a boatload of young talent, but it's all unproven. Safety is a really difficult position to play at the college level -- one that is asked to do a ton of things and can give up big plays when assignments are not executed properly. The future of the position is bright, but replacing the experience of Parker and Shamburger isn't a simple process, and we'll likely see some growing pains from the position in 2014.