Friday, August 15, 2008

Victor Aiyewa - UW Difference Makers

Victor was one of those rare finds when he was recruited. He was a kid from Texas that had only played football for two years. Despite the lack of experience the sculpted safety from Texas earned time on special teams as a freshman last year because he just knocks the snot out of people and the Huskies were short handed. The coaches would have loved to have redshirted him, but his ability to elevate the play on special teams, and possibly get some time at safety when Jason Wells was injured accelerated the decision.

This spring he went out an won a starting job at safety. There is also a pretty good chance that he is going to be able to hold onto it during camp as Jason Wells works his way back from a knee injury. Victor and his back field mate Nate Williams really opened up some eyes this spring because they really began to lay some serious lumber.

Washington frankly hasn't had this type of talent and depth at the safety position for most of this decade. The last time we had this type of talent at safety was when Hakim Akbar, and Curtis Williams were leading the team to a Rose Bowl.

Safety is back at Washington, and the position is deep. Backing up Aiyewa, and Williams will be seniors Jason Wells, and Darin Harris who are both former starters. Behind those two you have walk on junior Tripper Johnson who ran with the two's most of the spring, and freshman Greg Walker from San Diego. Another probable addition in the next couple of weeks may be O'Dea's Johri Fogerson who has been impressive working out with the TB's during the first two weeks. With a glut of talent on that side of the ball Fogerson just may find a home over on defense. vince taylor is working with the receivers right now, but safety may also be his ultimate destination.

I list Victor Aiyewa as a difference maker in only his second year in the program because for the first time in nearly a decade we are going to have true enforcer over the middle. Look what Taylor Mays, and Patrick Chung do for their teams and you get a glimpse of what Victor's future at Washington is going to look like.

I am not forgetting CJ Wallace's, and Jason Wells contributions either, but the lack of depth, and talent around them really hurt the defenses that they led.

The Washington defensive backfield that has been maligned ever since the last Holiday Bowl loss against Texas is about to re-emerge from a long slumber. The young talent led by Aiyewa, Williams, and Richardson is ready to explode, but most importantly the positions are all four deep in quality depth. The biggest problem Washington has had under Willingham has been simply having enough DB's ready to play each week so they can execute the defense the way it has been designed. It is pretty tough to compete with only six healthy DB's, and the coaching staff has had to deal with that over the past three years.

In 2008 look for Victor, and Nate to have break out seasons, and be near the top of the list in 2009 when the media starts picking their pre season All Pac Ten defensive teams.


Rob M said...

A good safety corps can really eliminate the center of the field if for no other reason than striking the fear of God into post pattern-running receivers. That was part of what made the Patriot's defense so effective—nobody wants to tangle with Rodney Harrison. Mean, punishing defenses are the most fun to watch, and I'm excited for a bigger, stronger, harder-hitting secondary than we've seen in quite a while.

Jennifer said...

"The last time we had this type of talent at safety was when Hakim Akbar, and Curtis Williams were leading the team to a Rose Bowl."

I don't know ... given the fact that CJ and Dashon are BOTH IN THE NFL, I'd consider them the best talent (in terms of starters) that we've ever had (yes, I know that Dashon was shifted to CB, but you catch my point).

tony said...

great column John. victor seems to have a groin pull.

who,s next?

John Berkowitz said...

Jenifer...Not by a long shot in the history of this franchise. Nothing against the two you mentioned, but they don't measure up with at least a dozen past UW safeties dating back to the start of the DJ days.

Here are just a few...Lawyer Milloy, Tim Peoples, Kyle Heinrich, Chris O'Connor,Jimmy Rodgers...I could go on and on.

Who is behind Victor if he isn't ready to go?

Darin Harris and Jason Wells are two guys with a lot of starting expereince. We are pretty strong and deep at safety.