Thursday, November 8, 2012

The end of the Trufant era for the Huskies

By Kshell

This Saturday when the Washington Huskies(5-4,3-3) host the Utah Utes(4-5(2-4) it will be their final home game of the season. Which means we'll be saying goodbye to our seniors for the final time. This years senior class is unique as it is the last class who was ever coached by Tyrone Willingham. One senior in particular though was one of Steve Sarkisian's first recruits in his first recruiting class which is corner back Desmond Trufant. Trufant so far in his Husky career has played in all 47 games in his Husky career starting the final 44. Trufant was only a three star recruit from Wilson High School in Tacoma but is proving everyone he has what it takes to make it to the NFL like his brothers Marcus and Isiah are(coincidentally they'll be playing against each other this Sunday at Century Link). This will be an emotional game as the Huskies will say goodbye to their seniors.

 Trufant started as a true freshman in the fourth week of the season and never lost his spot. With the team being 0-12 the year before he was given a chance to start right away. Trufant had a good year as well playing in all 12 games while making nine starts. He recorded 47 tackles, had two interceptions and recovered a fumble for a 17 yard touchdown at Notre Dame. He earned honorable mention all-Pac-10 corner. As a sophomore Trufant slumped a little but still started all 13 games. That year Trufant recorded 48 tackles, had one interception with a sack. Trufant was starting to make a name for himself as he had already started 22 games his first two years with the program. Although to that point people viewed him as a name only. Which is why he is one of my favorite seniors to ever pass through this program. He got progressively better the next two seasons which is always nice to see.

Trufant started his 2011 season off with a bang. First week of the season he had 11 tackles, forced a fumble and had the game clinching interception in the end zone to preserve the win over Eastern Washington. For his efforts he was named Pac-12 defensive player of the week. The following week he had a key interception against Hawaii then returned a block PAT for a two point conversation. For the season Trufant returned to the all Pac-12 team as he was selected honorable mention. Trufant recorded 64 tackles, had a sack and had two interceptions. Once again Trufant started all 13 games his junior year as he started to become a reliable corner. There was some talks heading into his senior year that he might be an early NFL draft pick mostly cause of his name. Instead heading into his senior year with new defensive coaches Trufant has stepped his game up. Trufant is without a doubt the best corner in the conference.

The one main difference between Desmond and his older brother Marcus is the apple cup. Desmond is 3-0 in apple cups while his brother Marcus went 0-4. This year younger Trufant is having a great senior year making all nine starts he has recorded 29 tackles, 4.5 for loss, one sack and the game clinching interception to upset #8 Stanford at home. Trufant's stats are down simply because teams don't throw towards him. Against USC he went up against future first round pick Marquise Lee and Robert Woods. Both were shut down when facing Trufant. Trufant will be first team all conference this year and could be the highest drafted corner for the Huskies since Dana Hall went first round in the 1992 NFL draft. Trufant will be a big loss for this defense that on paper is expected to return nine starters next year. Trufant has turned out to be everything Husky fans wanted out of him and then some.

Another long-time starter that will be playing his final home is center Drew Schaefer. Schaeffer is a redshirt senior as he redshirt during Tyrone Willingham's final season at Montlake which saw the Huskies go 0-12.

Schaefer as a freshman in 2009 played in all 12 games including starting the final four games at left tackle. As a sophomore in 2010 he started all 13 games, 11 at center and two at right tackle. Last year as a junior Schaeffer started all 13 games at center. Now this year Schaeffer again has started all nine games at center with this Saturday being start #10. Overall Schaefer had played in 47 games making 39 career starts and 33 starts at the center position. He'll be the only senior offensive lineman and due to injuries the Huskies don't even have a junior offensive lineman.

The Huskies have relied on Schaefer heavily this year as he is the only upperclassmen who starts games for them on the offensive line. He along with Micah Hatchie are the only offensive lineman to have started every single game this year. The center position will be a big loss as the Huskies haven't had anyone other than Schaeffer play center since 2009.

The last senior I'll highlight is wide receiver Cody Bruns. Bruns came in as a four-star recruit in the heralded 2008 recruiting class that was ranked 12th in the nation. Bruns is also the only Husky on this roster to have actually played in a game during the 0-12 season. This year Bruns only has six receptions for 28 yards. He also has six punt returns for 72 yards(12.0 YPR). For his career he has been a bust so far only catching 16 passes for 170 yards. He has 22 punt returns for 135 yards. He is also three for four passing for 67 yards. This year the Huskies have desperately needed another receiver to step up and unfortunately Bruns hasn't been that guy. Still for him and the other seniors if the Huskies win this Saturday they'll clinch another bowl trip. Their first year on college campus they didn't win a single game now they could go bowling for the third straight year.

The Huskies this Saturday are saying goodbye to two prominent starters in their program since the Sarkisian era began. The good news for Sarkisian is he is only losing two full-time starters on defense, only two full-time starters on offense and losing no skill position players who start due to graduation. The Huskies will return a lot of talent next year but for this year hopefully the Huskies can send the seniors out right. Sarkisian is 3-0 in the seniors final home games a trend he hopes to continue this Saturday when the Huskies square off with the Utes. It will be bittersweet seeing Trufant and Schaefer playing in their final Husky home game as it will be an end of an era.

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