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Washington Pre-Spring Depth Chart Dive: Defensive Back

Washington Defensive Back

Washington loses a couple of significant contributors in the defensive backfield ahead of the 2024 season. Two cornerbacks transferred out including Jabbar Muhammad who is now at Oregon and Mishael Powell who is now at Miami. Asa Turner transferred to Florida at safety, and the team’s leading tackler last season Dominique Hampton is off to the NFL. The Huskies only have one returning starter at defensive back, but they did add a few players in the winter transfer portal.

Lone Returning Starter

At cornerback, Elijah Jackson will be returning to Washington this coming season. He made one of the plays of the season for Washington in the Sugar Bowl against Texas. On the game’s final play, he swatted a pass from Quinn Ewers to send the Huskies to the National Championship Game. Jackson had six pass breakups last season, two forced fumbles, and 61 total tackles. Without question, Jackson will be returning the most production from last season’s Husky team.

Transfer Portal Additions

To aid the lost personnel, Jedd Fisch and staff took a couple of Arizona Wildcat players with them to Seattle. That included Ephesians Prysock at cornerback. In two seasons at Arizona, Prysock has started 16 games with 25 game appearances. Last year, Prysock had 61 total tackles, seven pass breakups, and an interception. The Washington staff really likes the potential in Prysock as a third-year player, seeing him as a future NFL cornerback. The Arizona transfer is slated to start opposite Jackson at cornerback next season.

Washington also landed Jordan Shaw at defensive back. Shaw was a true freshman at Indiana last season but had committed to play for Fisch at Arizona in the winter transfer portal cycle. Amid the coaching changes, Shaw followed his new coach to the Pacific Northwest and will now wear number three for the purple and gold. As a true freshman in Bloomington last year, Shaw started two games and played in four at slot cornerback. He tallied 12 tackles and a pass breakup. It’s likely that the former Hoosier will be slotted at the “Husky” position on this Washington defense. Shaw was a three-star in the class of 2023 from California. 

Step Up the Depth Chart

There are a few guys who will likely be stepping up in the depth chart this year with all the roster attrition. Of those names, three of whom were second on the depth chart to the three defensive back transfers. Tristan Dunn was listed behind Powell in the final game against Michigan and finished the year with 16 tackles and played in all 15 games as a redshirt sophomore last year. Thaddeus Dixon was a junior college transfer last year and played in 14 games, finishing with 26 total tackles. Dixon was listed behind Muhammad on the depth chart last season. The other player poised to take a step up on the depth chart is Kamren Fabiculanan. He was the team’s second-team safety behind Turner. The sixth-year senior had 26 tackles last season with two interceptions and two pass breakups. 

Another depth chart player last year was Dyson McCutcheon at the “Husky” position. The redshirt junior played in seven games last season and registered four tackles. He was one of the many players to enter the transfer portal after Kalen DeBoer left for Alabama, but he was the first to recommit to the new staff at Washington. McCutcheon will be a fourth year junior next year and will compete for a spot on the two-deep.

Makell Esteen is another name to watch move up on this depth chart as we head into Spring Practice. Last season, the sophomore had 19 tackles, a couple of pass breakups, and an interception. Esteen will be one of the more experienced safeties on the roster along with Dunn. 

True Freshman Defensive Backs

Washington’s 2024 recruiting class included five defensive backs. The two highest-rated of the group include Rahshawn Clark, a four-star athlete out of Garfield High School in Seattle, Washington. Clark excelled in all three phases in high school playing wide receiver, defensive back, and returning kicks. The other highly-rated true freshman is Peyton Waters. According to On3, his recruitment rating is the highest in Washington’s 2024 class. The safety posted back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons as a junior and senior in high school. During those two seasons, Waters also posted 115 total tackles, six interceptions, four defensive touchdowns, and six kick return touchdowns. 

Paul Mencke Jr. is the third safety in this 2024 class. Depending on the recruiting site you view, Mencke Jr. might be considered one of the highest-rated defensive backs in Washington’s class. Safety Rahim Wright and cornerback Elias Johnson round out the true freshman class of defensive backs. Both of whom were three-star recruits out of high school. 


Washington Defensive Back
Photo courtesy: Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK


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