Brandon Beaver came to Washington not long ago as a pretty big recruit. The Huskies were able to snap him up out of SoCal despite holding a UCLA offer in addition to offers from both Arizona schools, Nebraska, Tennessee, and many others. It was a disappointing class overall for the Huskies, but Beaver was a guy with big expectations around him from day one.
When Beaver came into the program, he was initially a corner, and then was moved to safety. As he battled injury and adjusted to a new and unfamiliar position, he was lost in the depth chart and even overtaken by two true freshmen. Now after getting healthy, learning the position, going through the coaching change, and taking advantage of the graduation of the two starters at safety from 2013, Beaver has poised himself to step into a prominent role on the defense's back end.
I'll be the first person to admit that this is a risky choice -- there's no guarantee that Beaver will play a ton, much less be a starter and impact player. But Beaver's skill set and what he has done in practices heading into 2014 give reason to be excited about what he could potentially provide for the Dawgs this year: a ballhawking safety. UW's safeties a year ago were solid, but neither was an above average turnover creator, and with the new coaching staff's emphasis on turnovers (see: the air horn Chris Petersen carries around and has been teasing both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball with since Spring) it seems a guy with a knack for creating them such as Beaver has been doing this fall will have a better than average chance of getting an opportunity to do so on Saturdays.
Somebody is going to step in and become a starter at safety -- a position where big play opportunities abound. Believe it or not, Brandon Beaver as a redshirt sophomore is the elder statesman of the group. He may not in fact win the job, but he's not a bad bet either, and if he does get into the starting lineup it will be on the back of his ability to swing games with big plays.