UW co-defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake on Rapp: "He picked up the defenses as quick as any freshman I’ve seen."
Taylor Rapp graduated from Bellingham’s Sehome High early and enrolled at the University of Washington in January, eager for an opportunity to play as a freshman for the team he grew up rooting for.
Then, in just his second spring practice with the Huskies, a setback: Rapp had a hairline fracture in his left hand, which could have spoiled his hopes of playing this season.
Instead, Rapp “didn’t miss one beat” in the spring, UW coach Chris Petersen said. A strong fall camp then earned Rapp a spot at free safety on the Huskies’ two-deep for the season opener against Rutgers, and last Saturday he made his first start against Portland State.
“When we got him here, he was so smart. I mean, it was amazing how fast he picked everything up,” Petersen said.
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Added co-defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake: “He picked up the defenses as quick as any freshman I’ve seen.”
Rapp, listed at 6-feet, 202 pounds, has 10 tackles through three games, adding more quality depth to a secondary that many already considered one of the best in the nation.
“He’s a really good tackler, plays hard,” Petersen said. “It’s all these characteristics that when you boil it down, you want a smart player that’s physical, that’s a good tackler, that just has a really high football IQ.”
Last year, the Huskies employed a nickel defense about 75 percent of the time, and they’ve started all three games this season that way. Junior cornerback Darren Gardenhire started as the fifth defensive back against Rutgers; senior safety Brandon Beaver started against Idaho; and Rapp started against Portland State in part because Lake said he matched up well with the Vikings’ run-oriented offense.
“We felt it was a matchup this game that we thought he’d excel at … and it looked like he played pretty well,” Lake said after the game.