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30-Day Countdown: Day 21 - Team Interceptions Leader

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Picking who will get the most picks.

NCAA Football: Utah at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

We are three excruciatingly long weeks away from the start of the Husky Football season. As time marches on, so does our countdown series. Today, we look at who could lead the team in interceptions in 2021.

Let’s begin with some context. In the Petersen/Lake era, here are the past interception leaders:

  • 2014: Marcus Peters - 3
  • 2015: Sidney Jones - 4
  • 2016: Taylor Rapp - 4
  • 2017: Byron Murphy - 3
  • 2018: Byron Murphy - 4
  • 2019: Elijah Molden - 4
  • 2020 (four games): Elijah Molden - 1

So it is probably safe to assume the 2021 season leader will end up with three or four interceptions, and it will likely be a defensive back. Let’s take a look at some possible candidates:

CB - Trent McDuffie

He’s the most talented defensive back on the roster, and if he got enough passes thrown his way he could lead the team in interceptions. However, his elite coverage ability will mean his opportunities will be limited. He has shown the anticipation and hands in the past when balls are thrown his way - let’s see how often quarterbacks test him this year.

2021 interception projection: 2

CB - Kyler Gordon

He has yet to intercept a pass in his Husky career, but the athletic corner feels like a budding playmaker. This season will be his first full time starting opportunity and he’ll likely get a lot of passes thrown his way as teams look to avoid Trent McDuffie. His quickness and overall elite athleticism means windows will close faster for opposing QBs, and a pass that might be a completion against another team could be a pick for Gordon.

2021 projection: 3

NCAA Football: Stanford at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

LB - Edefuan Ulosfoshio

A three or four interception season would represent a truly excellent haul for a linebacker. Ulofoshio will probably get his chances - he had four passes defended in four games last year - but linebackers usually don’t have the hands and ball skills of the DBs. His high football IQ and motor means he’ll be in the correct positions most of the time, so it’s just a matter of having the hands and quick reactions to snag passes over the middle.

2021 projection: 1

S - Dom Hampton

Dom Hampton feels destined to get a lot of playing time this year and combines a 6-2 220 pound frame with some serious range. Due to his size he won’t be pegged as a ballhawk, but he spent his first couple of years training as a CB for the Huskies so his coverage skills have been developed. He’s bursting with potential and if he puts it all together in his first year starting, he could get multiple interceptions.

2021 projection: 1

S - Cameron Williams

If he wasn’t injured and not practicing, I would think his chances of leading the team in picks is much higher. Without knowing the nature of the injury it’s hard to say the impact he’ll have this year. But, he showed impressive ball skills and football IQ as a freshman, snagging three interceptions - just one less than team leader Elijah Molden. If he’s healthy and starting this year, don’t be shocked if Williams returns to his freshman ballhawking form.

2021 projection: 2

NCAA Football: Southern California at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

DB - Brendan Radley-Hiles

Late addition to this list, but Bookie deserves a mention. The former top-50 overall recruit showed impressive instincts, reactive speed, and ball skills during his first three seasons with Oklahoma and could put himself in position to generate a lot of turnovers for Washington. He snagged three interceptions in his Sooner career, including returning one for a touchdown. He’s battling for the starting the nickel position for the Huskies, following in the footsteps of Myles Byrant (3 interceptions in 2019) and Elijah Molden. If he gets the snaps, there’s no reason to think he won’t get his hands on the football a few times.

2021 projection: 2

My Prediction - Kyler Gordon

He feels destined for a big year opposite McDuffie. Teams will avoid the likely All-American giving Kyler Gordon lots of opportunities to get his hands on the football. He has the best combination on the team of ball skills and athleticism, and will be thrown to more than any other DB. He has yet to intercept a pass as a Husky, but he’s the type of player that can impact a game with turnovers. Three feels about right for him, with a solid distribution of interceptions spread around the team.

Poll

Who will lead the team in interceptions in 2021?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    Trent McDuffie
    (92 votes)
  • 43%
    Kyler Gordon
    (145 votes)
  • 0%
    Edefuan Ulofoshio
    (3 votes)
  • 7%
    Dom Hampton
    (24 votes)
  • 8%
    Cam Williams
    (30 votes)
  • 11%
    Brendan Radley-Hiles
    (40 votes)
334 votes total Vote Now