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30 Day Countdown- Day 4: UW’s Defensive MVP

A great defense should have a lot of candidates. It does.

Pac-12 Championship - Colorado v Washington Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

We’re getting close...

Corey Dillon
Corey Dillon more days ‘til Auburn.

Yesterday, we looked at the Huskies’ top candidates for Offensive MVP. It’s Jake Browning, Myles Gaskin, and then everyone else. On the defensive side, the potential winners of this award goes deep, much like the Husky defense itself.

Here are the last five winners of the Defensive MVP award:

2017: Vita Vea (DT)

2016: Budda Baker (S)

2015: Travis Feeney (LB)

2014: Shaq Thompson (LB) and Hau’oli Kikaha (DE)

2013: Hau’oli Kikaha (DE)

As you can see, the award can go to any position, with cornerback the only position not to take home the honor over the past five seasons. Is this the year a corner wins? I’d say there’s a great opportunity.

I’ll highlight a few players, but by no means is this a complete list of who can win this award.


Jordan Miller was playing lights out last season before a freak knee injury ended his season. All indications are that he is back to playing at a really high level, which is fantastic news. Miller is a true lockdown corner with great ball skills.

Did someone say ball skills? Byron Murphy has really been hyped up this offseason, landing on several preseason All America teams. Murphy has elite body control and great hands, and since these awards are often based at least partially on statistics, the notion that he stands a very good chance of leading the team in interceptions makes him a leading candidate for defensive MVP.


First Team All-American Taylor Rapp has to be the leading candidate overall. He will fill out the stat sheet this season with a few sacks, some TFLs, a couple interceptions, and a ton of tackles. The guy is just a heady, solid player with exceptional quickness. 2018 is his audition to NFL scouts and he will be dialed in to show how great he can be.


Ben Burr-Kirven is going to make a lot of tackles this season, but it will take more than that for him to win the Defensive MVP Award. Why? Because he is a middle linebacker and that is what they do. Is the Tevis Bartlett to inside LB move for real? All indications are yes, but we wont really know until we see it on Saturday. It really depends on other players, namely D.J. Beavers. If Beavers emerges as one of the regulars, it could push Bartlett back outside. Working off the edge would give Bartlett more opportunities to amass defensive statistics, but no matter where he plays, his athleticism and experience make him a strong consideration for the award.

Defensive Line

Greg Gaines deserves the “lifetime achievement award” for his entire Husky career. The guy has been consistently fantastic since he emerged as a redshirt freshman in 2015. After playing a supporting role to Elijah Qualls and Vita Vea, Gaines is now “The Man” on the UW defensive front. Fellow senior Jaylen Johnson is a sleeper for this award. He has shown flashes of greatness in his career at Washington, and with Gaines likely sucking up some double teams, Johnson will have a chance to wreak havoc in opponents’ backfields.


Who will be chosen Defensive MVP for the Huskies?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Jordan Miller
    (25 votes)
  • 20%
    Byron Murphy
    (102 votes)
  • 40%
    Taylor Rapp
    (202 votes)
  • 5%
    Ben Burr-Kirven
    (27 votes)
  • 3%
    Tevis Bartlett
    (19 votes)
  • 21%
    Greg Gainies
    (110 votes)
  • 2%
    Jaylen Johnson
    (14 votes)
  • 1%
    (6 votes)
505 votes total Vote Now