There’s a unique kinship between Brandon Beaver and Trevor Walker – a pair of veteran UW safeties making their return from knee injuries. They’re among the few holdovers from the previous coaching regime who made their collegiate debuts in 2013.

Share story

There’s a unique kinship between Brandon Beaver and Trevor Walker – a pair of veteran Washington Huskies safeties making their return from knee injuries.

They’re among the few holdovers from the previous coaching regime who made their collegiate debuts in 2013. They slowly found success in UW’s new defense before injuries derailed their careers.

During their absence, the once-thin secondary developed into the deepest position on the top-ranked defense in the Pac-12 last season.

That’s good news for the Huskies, but Beaver and Walker won’t have an easy time finding playing time in a crowded defensive backfield.

“We’re going to see this unbelievably competitive training camp where we have the deepest safety unit I’ve ever coached,” said Jimmy Lake, UW’s co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach.

Junior Budda Baker, an All-America candidate, and sophomore JoJo McIntosh are slated to start at the two safety spots with junior Ezekiel Turner, freshman Taylor Rapp and Beaver and Walker competing for backup duties.

“I feel like we got a lot of players that could start pretty much anywhere,” said Walker, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound junior. “We’ll display it this season.”

Walker redshirted in 2015 after tearing his ACL in October 2014 against Arizona State. Before the injury, he started three games and played in all eight contests.

“I was pretty depressed honestly just because during my sophomore year I was working towards reaching a certain spot on the team,” Walker said. “I moved up in the depth chart and as soon as they had me starting, I ended up tearing my ACL on the second play of the game.

“You can only imagine what I was feeling. … But I just tried to make the most of it. I’m pretty much ready to go this year.”

It’s been a long layoff for Walker and a relatively short 10-month recovery for Beaver, who suffered a season-ending ACL tear last year on Oct. 17 during a 26-20 loss to Oregon.

“I feel good,” said Beaver, a 6-foot, 180-pound senior. “I just wanted to feel as strong and as good as possible coming into camp my senior year.

“I still have to ice three times a day. I got to take care of it and stay on top of it. Sometimes it gets sore, but for the most part if I stay on top of it I’m pretty good.”

Beaver said the birth of his son, Brandon Jr., on Dec. 23, 2015 provided extra motivation to make a full recovery.

“He’s always in the back of my mind,” Beaver said. “When I’m in school or working out, I was always thinking about him so I can set a good example. I got my degree (in American Ethnic Studies), so I can show him that when I get older.

“I can just tell him that even when I got hurt, I still fought back and I’m trying to shine my senior year.”

Lake admits it’s a good problem trying to find playing time for UW’s defensive backs.

“I’m very, very confident in our depth and I have a lot of confidence in this crew,” he said.

Coach Chris Petersen noted injuries have been commonplace in the secondary.

“You have to have a lot of guys there because you’re going to go through them,” he said. “For whatever reason, it’s the position that seems to need a lot of players. So we don’t worry about that; we’re going to need them all.”

Taylor and Beaver are slotted as major contributors on the special teams, but both are hoping to reprise their once-promising roles in the secondary.

“We’ll see what happens,” Lake said. “It’s going to be a competitive training camp. I always tell my guys, I’m an equal-opportunity employer. The best player is going to play.”