SEATTLE – Desmond Trufant, the youngest son of one of the first families of football in this state, could have easily followed the same path older brother Marcus traveled to Washington State.
Instead, the graduate of Wilson High in Tacoma decided to take the road closer to home and sign with the rival Huskies.
“I think that was one of my reasons for coming to UW, because a lot of people thought I would go to Washington State because he went there,’’ Trufant said earlier this season. “But I came here to kind of make my own name.’’
He’s done just that, emerging as the team’s defensive leader (as well as a team captain) in his senior season, his fourth as a starter at cornerback.
Saturday, Trufant has a chance to make his own name on an even larger scale when the Huskies host 11th-ranked USC at CenturyLink Field at 4 p.m.
USC brings to town what some consider college football’s best receiving duo in sophomore Marqise Lee and junior Robert Woods, who have combined for 83 catches this season (not far off UW’s team total of 97). Lee, a 6-foot, 195-pounder from Inglewood, Calif., leads the Pac-12 with 52 receptions for 649 yards. Woods, a 6-1, 190-pounder from Carson, Calif., is tied for seventh (with UW’s Kasen Williams) with 31 for 272 yards.
“Two first-round (draft pick) NFL receivers that have very, very good speed, run good routes, catch the ball,’’ said UW defensive backs coach Keith Heyward.
And the heftiest challenge yet this year for UW’s cornerbacks, led by Trufant, who is already generally considered as one of the top players at his position for the 2013 NFL draft.
Heyward said Tuesday he told Trufant this week that “this is his money game right here. He can improve his stock dramatically right here. It’s a great challenge to go up against one of those guys, or both of them, and display his talents.’’
UW coaches say one of the many issues in defending Lee, listed as a flanker, and Woods, listed as a split end, is that the Trojans align the two all over the place.
“I think he likes the opportunity and the challenge,’’ UW coach Steve Sarkisian said. “And this is a big challenge – don’t get me wrong. You don’t get to take any plays off against USC when you are playing defensive back because you never know when it’s Lee or Woods or both of them. So it’s a great challenge. But I think good competitors embrace the challenge, so I think he will be ready to go.’’