The news this week about Washington has all been coaching related. The Husky players still will make the most impact despite the changes on staff. Washington lacks offensive playmakers, a reason why its only scored 22 points per game coming in, which ranks 10th in the Pac-12. However, the game-changers are on the defensive side of the football.
Cornerback Trent McDuffie
In recent years, Seattle has been a breeding ground for NFL defensive backs like Budda Baker, Byron Murphy, Kevin King, Elijah Molden and Taylor Rapp. The next one is Trent McDuffie. As poorly as the season has gone for Washington, its passing defense is still as good as ever and McDuffie is a big reason why. The Huskies allow a conference-low 141 passing yards per game, a very frightening stat for an Arizona State offense that has struggled to pass the ball lately.
Not only does McDuffie cover really well, he hits very hard. As a 5-foot-11 corner, he blitzes really well and can be a bruiser as a tackler. If Arizona State struggles to pass the ball, McDuffie can make a difference in the run game as well.
Outside Linebacker Zion Tupuola-Fetui
In 2020, Tupuola-Fetui used all four games to become an All-American player for Washington. He racked up seven sacks and forced three fumbles. However, not many thought we’d see him in 2021 after he tore his achilles in the spring. Yet, he will be suiting up for his fifth game of the season when he takes on Arizona State.
Tupuola-Fetui might still be getting his legs after making such a quick recovery, but it only takes one game to get back on track as a talented player. He’ll be one to watch closely if Arizona State has to pass the ball more than it likes.
Quarterback Sam Huard
This is a wild card. There’s a good chance that starter Dylan Morris plays like any other game. However, Washington already fired offensive coordinator John Donovan this week and head coach Jimmy Lake is suspended for the Arizona State game and seems likely to be on his way out. Why not try out the five-star spring enrollee too?
Huard is very talented and ranked inside 247Sports top 15 players overall in this past recruiting class. It wouldn’t be shocking to see Washington try a different direction at this point to help spark the offense and it’s been reported he is splitting first-team reps this week.