August 15, 2008

Spotlight: Cornerbacks

The struggles of the secondary were well documented in 2007. They finished the season with the 104th ranked pass defense in the nation, giving up 261.38 yards per game. In response, drastic changes have been made. 6-foot-0, 205-pound Quinton Richardson and 6-foot-2, 210-pound Mesphin Forrester have moved from safety to corner and will give the Huskies a physically imposing secondary if nothing else. Additionally, for the fist time in many seasons there is depth at corner with talented additions in the past two recruiting classes. The position is now nine players deep, but can they actually step up and get the job done?


Quinton Richardson
Seattle, WA (O'Dea HS)
6-foot-0, 200-pound, Redshirt Freshman
2007 STATS: NA

Richardson is the next in a long line of O'Dea High School studs. He spent last season redshirting after making the switch from high school linebacker/safety to college corner. He earned the Brian Stapp Special Teams Scout of the year Award and impressed coaches enough to earn the starting spot at corner. In high school Richardson earned first-team all state honors along with the Metro League Mountain Division co-defensive MVP Award. He was considered the No. 27 safety in the nation and sixth best athlete in the state of Washington for the class of 2007.

Richardson spent all of last season learning the cornerback position and it appears he could be the answer the Huskies have been searching for. He has the size to bump with the big Pac-10 receivers, but don't be deceived, he's also fast. During summer workouts he ran a 4.48, which gives him the combination of size and speed to get excited about. Entering the 2008 season, so much of the Huskies success will be ridding on this secondary and much of that pressure falls squarely on Richardson. I think he's just the man to step up!

Mesphin Forrester
Los Angeles, CA (Venice HS)
6-foot-2, 205-pound, Redshirt Senior
2007 STATS: 93 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 2 interceptions, 1 touchdown

Forrester has played in 29 games at safety for the Huskies and was a bright spot for them defensively last season. He finished the season with 93 tackles, third most on the team. That was good enough to rank him 21st in the Pac-10 with 7.2 tackles per game. However, during the last week of spring practices he moved to cornerback and it's stuck. He will be starting opposite of Richardson, giving the Huskies two of the bigger and more physical corners in the conference. Out of high school he flew under the radar until late in the recruiting process when he picked up a few quality offers from Washington, Oregon and Utah. His senior season he was an All-Western League selection after collecting 102 tackles, six interceptions, four fumble recoveries, and two forced fumbles.

If nothing else, wide outs should be worried to cross the middle of this Husky secondary. Forrester and Richardson both love to hit… no they relish the feeling of laying the pads into someone. Forrester also has the size to square up the biggest receivers in the Pac-10 and the speed to recover. The biggest hurdle will be the unfamiliarity with the position. If he picks it up in time, look out, this could be the most improved unit on the Husky roster.

Matt Mosley
Chandler, AZ (Corona del Sol, HS)
5-foot-11, 190-pound, Redshirt Sophomore
2007 STATS: 12 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss

Mosley played in 11 games last season, starting three. He collected seven tackles in one of his starts against California and notched three more, all solo, against Ohio State. He's shown flashes of great athletic ability and will play prominent role in the secondary rotation in 2008. Out of high school he was the No.7 rated player from the state of Arizona and the No. 50 "athlete" in the nation. His senior season he had over 500 yards of total offense and five touchdowns to go along with 45 tackles, three sacks, and one interception on defense. He chose Washington over offers from Arizona State and Oregon State.

Mosley will be in the mix early and often. He will provide depth at corner as one of the backups and will fight for the nickel back position. I think he will be used more on the edge and in the dime package because he has all of the tools to be a cover corner. Mosley has legit 4.45 speed and decent size for the position. He will push Richardson and Forrester and be able to spell them without concern.

Vonzell McDowell
Seattle, WA (Rainier Beach HS)
5-foot-9, 180-pound, True Sophomore
2007 STATS: 20 tackles, 1 interception

McDowell was thrown into the fire last season as a true freshman, playing in eight games and starting three. He has mixed results, but showed enough talent to let coaches know he belongs. He was very good against Boise State where he recorded eight tackles and one interception. At times he was lost and looked the part of a true freshman, but the experience should help him down the road. Coming out of high school McDowell was considered the No. 12 player in Washington and the No. 63 corner in the nation. He was an all-state, all-area, and all-league selection after notching 45 tackles and three interceptions. McDowell was also a stand out on offense where he compiled over 1,100 all-purpose yards as a senior.

McDowell along with Mosley will be the primary backups at corner. He will factor into the mix at nickel back and will play a large role for this Husky defense. He has bulked up considerably and that should allow him to be more physical with receivers, something that got him in trouble last season. Defensive Backs coach J.D. Williams has been very impressed with his progression and thinks he can be a solid Pac-10 player this season.

Byran Davenport
Long Beach, CA (Poly HS/UCLA)
5-foot-11, 195-pound, Redshirt Senior
2007 STATS: 50 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble, 1 interception, 1 sack

Davenport transferred to the Huskies from UCLA where he spent two seasons. After redshirting in 2004 he played in all 12 games in 2005 collecting 25 tackles. Last season he played in 11 games, missing only Ohio State and Boise State due to injury. In fact Davenport was bothered by a hamstring injury he suffered during fall practices all season long. He is still slowed by injuries this season, but will factor into the rotation heavily if healthy. Out of high school he was a first-team All-CIF Southern Selection and was considered the No. 49 cornerback in the country.

Davenport has legitimate Pac-10 speed and showed signs of being a quality cornerback last season. The problem was the deep ball, he was beat to often over the top. Much of that could be from not being 100 percent healthy, much of it could have been the defensive schemes, but it's something he will have to correct. The physical tools are there and if he's healthy I'm sure the coaches will have it fixed. Either way, if healthy he is going to see the field and will need to be ready to contribute.

Justin Glenn
Mukilteo, WA (Kamiak HS)
5-foot-11, 190-pound, True Freshman
2007 HIGH SCHOOL STATS: 1,056 rushing yards, 20 touchdowns, 5 interceptions

Glenn was a first-team All-WesCo cornerback, a second-team running back and a first-team all-state selection as a senior in high school. Glenn is a super physical corner who likes to attack receivers at the line of scrimmage. He managed five interceptions as a senior, despite not being thrown at much. He was the No. 8 rated prospect from Washington and the No. 31 rated cornerback in the country.

Glenn has impressed in his short time on campus. He has added muscle and looks the part of a shutdown Pac-10 corner. He might not see the field because there is finally depth at cornerback, but he gives Husky fans reason to be excited about the future at defensive back.

Adam Long
Los Angeles, CA (St. Bernard HS)
5-foot-9, 170-pound, True Freshman
2007 HIGH SCHOOL STATS: 25 tackles, 1 interception

You can't teach speed, so it's a good thing Adam Long already has a lot of it. He runs a legit 4.4 forty yards dash and runs the 100-meter dash in the 10.5 range. He was a standout on both sides of the football but is still very raw when it comes to football skills. He was a first-team CIF Southern Section All-Northwest Division and was considered the No. 85 player in California and the No. 50 cornerback in the nation. Long also had full ride offers for track from schools like UCLA but chose to play football at Washington over offers from California and Oregon State.

Long has to add weight before he can be a factor at the Pac-10 level. A redshirt season would serve him well and is expected.

Marquis Persley
Redlands, CA (East Valley HS)
6-foot-1, 185-pound, Redshirt Freshman
2007 STATS: NA

Persley redshirted last season as a freshman. He is very new to the game and has only played for three seasons now. In his second season of football, as a senior in high school, Persley earned first-team All-CIF Inland Division and first-team All-Citrus Belt League after recording 44 tackles and two interceptions. He chose Washington over Wyoming and UNLV.

He is still learning the game and will strictly provide depth for the time being. He's got a big frame and decent speed so he could be an asset on special teams.

Tony Gobern
Sacramento, CA (Del Campo HS)
6-foot-0, 175-pound, True Freshman
2007 STATS: 83 carries, 938 yards, 72 tackles, 7 interceptions

Gobern was a stud in high school and earned first-team All-Metro for his efforts. He averaged over 11.3 yards per carry on offense while hauling down 7 interceptions on defense. He was a third team all-state selection and really came on late in the recruiting process. He chose Washington over late offers from Air Force and Nevada.

Gobern has great athletic ability and some real upside, but he had shoulder surgery and will most likely redshirt his first season on campus.

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