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Washington Spring Practice Preview – What to Watch on Defense

Wednesday’s first practice of Spring has been bumped back to 5 pm on April 3rd. It will run about two hours in length and will be our first chance to see what Jedd Fisch has put together on the defensive side of the football. There’s a sense of familiarity at linebacker with the return of both Alphonzo Tuputala and Carson Bruener. But the Washington secondary lost several contributing pieces from last year and there are questions up front. Here’s what we’ll be looking for during the first week of Washington’s Spring Practice.

High Upside Secondary

One of the most intriguing players to follow this Spring will be Ephesians Prysock. The 6’-4” cornerback transferred from Arizona this Winter, and the Washington staff is very high on his potential. As a sophomore last season, Prysock had 61 tackles, seven pass breakups, and an interception. Fisch believes that Prysock will be an NFL defensive back. He’s making it his job to get him there.

Also in the secondary, we’ll get eyes on the highest-rated recruit in Washington’s 2024 class. Peyton Waters was a four-star recruit across all major recruiting sites. He has enrolled on campus and is on the Spring roster. Waters played both sides of the ball for Birmingham High School in California. He caught 17 touchdowns for over 1,200 yards while recording 64 tackles, two interceptions, and two fumble returns for touchdowns. Waters is listed as 6’-1” at the safety position on Washington’s Spring roster ahead of practice. He will wear number 22 and we’ll be keeping a close eye on how he looks as a true freshman.

Strength at Linebacker

The middle of the Husky defense returns both Tuputala and Bruener who combined for 155 tackles last season. But the group is also gaining Bryun Parham, San Jose State’s leading tackler from last season. Parham transferred up to Seattle after his head coach left to become Fisch’s replacement at Arizona. The domino effect of the Fisch hire led to the Huskies landing one of the more prolific linebackers in the winter transfer portal class. Parham has three years of playing experience with more than 1,200 snaps at the position. The linebackers this season will be the most experienced group of the defense. 

Who Steps Up at EDGE?

Bralen Trice and just put on a very solid showing at Washington’s Pro Day. He and Zion Tupuola-Fetui are both on to the next level, leaving some question marks at the EDGE position. This Spring, we’ll be keeping track of the EDGE and who will fill those roles. Last season, Voi Tunuufi played 11 games at defensive line with over 200 snaps. He’ll be a senior this season and has three years in the purple and gold under his belt. We’ll be looking to see if Tunuufi can start to take that next step to be an everyday guy at the position beginning at Washington’s Spring practice.

But there are a handful of players at the EDGE spot that have an opportunity to move into an everyday role. As Fisch said at his presser at the end of March, there is no depth chart because there is no depth chart. Everyone will be fighting for spots this Spring, especially at EDGE. Maurice Heims and Lance Holtzclaw have the next most returning experience. The two lined up at EDGE in nine and 10 games last year, respectively. Washington also brought in Isaiah Ward at EDGE from Arizona in the transfer portal. He started 11 of the Wildcat’s 13 games last year with five tackles for loss and four sacks. The competition at EDGE is going to be something worth keeping an eye on this Spring.

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


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