ESPN’s Pac-12 Blog has a post up about the league’s best secondary heading into 2016.
Chantel Jennings says it’s UW:
However, my pick is Washington. The Huskies only lose one player (Brian Clay) out of their two-deep that finished as the fourth-best pass defense in the conference last year.
Budda Baker is the obvious star, but let’s not undercut the talents of Sidney Jones, Kevin King, Darren Gardenhire, JoJo McIntosh and Ezekiel Turner. So many players gained important reps last season, so now when an offensive coordinator looks at the Washington secondary, he can’t just say, “Avoid Baker.” Quarterbacks will be worried sending the ball toward any player. Jones had four interceptions, 10 pass breakups and 14 passes defended. King had three interceptions, five pass breakups and eight passes defended. McIntosh had an interception, three pass breakups and four passes defended. All of those players are so active and they’re only going to get better.
There will be no weak area in the Washington secondary in 2016. And on top of that — depending on how a few quarterback battles shake out, there’s a decent chance that the Huskies might only see first-year starting quarterbacks until their season finale against Washington State. Any first-year quarterbacks want to throw against this group? Didn’t think so.
JoJo McIntosh is another player UW needs to have a breakout season. While Brian Clay was a steady player he was likely the weak link in a very strong group. McIntosh is more talented and a breakout season from him would really improve the group in 2016. Last season in a reserve role he totaled 38 tackles, 1 interception and 4 passes defended. Clay had 65 tackles yet only 1 pass defended.
McIntosh came into spring at 6’1 208 lbs. He grew an inch and gained 12 lbs over last year. His strength is hitting ability while his weakness might be pass coverage.
Featured photo credit: Bellingham Herald