The competition at cornerback is expected to be highly contested this year.

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The Huskies’ Sept. 1 season opener against Auburn is a mere 158 days away, and another season of great anticipation inches closer with the start of spring practices on Wednesday morning. We continue a daily series of spring position previews here with a look at the defensive secondary.

Who’s back

Byron Murphy, so., 5-11, 184
Keith Taylor, so., 6-2, 193
Jomon Dotson, sr., 5-10, 180
Sean Vergara, sr., 6-2, 184*

Austin Joyner, jr., 5-10, 193
Jordan Miller, sr., 6-1, 180
Zechariah Brown, rs-fr., 5-10, 186*

First day of practice: March 28

Photo Day: April 21

Myles Bryant, jr., 5-8, 179
Elijah Molden, so., 5-10, 191
Dustin Bush, jr., 5-9, 180

Taylor Rapp, jr., 6-0, 207
Isaiah Gilchrist, so., 5-11, 205

JoJo McIntosh, sr., 6-1, 219
Brandon McKinney, so., 6-0, 201

Who’s out
Ezekiel Turner, graduated
Kentrell Love, transfer
Mason Stone, graduated

Summer arrivals
Kyler Gordon, fr., 5-11, 177
Dominique Hampton, fr., 6-2, 197
Julius Irvin, fr., 6-1, 177

SPRING OUTLOOK: The Huskies played their nickel defense close to 90 percent of their snaps in 2017, and all five starters (and then some) are back from the best defensive secondary in the Pac-12. Senior JoJo McIntosh and junior Taylor Rapp enter their third season together as the starting safeties; Myles Bryant had a strong season as the new starting nickelback; and Byron Murphy, Austin Joyner and Jordan Miller all have the tools to be star cornerbacks. Behind them, the Huskies have the best depth of any position on their roster, with another strong recruiting class set to enroll this summer.

BIGGEST QUESTION: Can Austin Joyner lock down one corner job?

Joyner, the former Marysville-Pilchuck star, didn’t win a starting job out of fall camp last year but did wind up starting 10 games after the injuries to Murphy and Miller. Miller isn’t expected to participate this spring while he continues to recover from his broken ankle from October, giving Joyner more time to showcase himself. The competition for that cornerback job between those two — and others — figures to be highly contested come August.


The Huskies allowed just five touchdown passes in nine Pac-12 games last season, the fewest by any Pac-12 defense since USC in 2008 (4). Over the past three seasons, the Huskies have allowed 34 total TD passes (in 40 games), the fewest in the Pac-12 over that period and third fewest among anyone in college football. (Michigan has allowed 31 passing TDs and Wisconsin 31 the past three seasons.)

BREAKOUT CANDIDATES: Jimmy Lake signed another strong recruiting class this year with Kyler Gordon, Dominique Hampton and Julius Irvin. Before the new class arrives this summer, the three defensive backs from 2017 — Brandon McKinney, Elijah Molden and Keith Taylor — will go through their first spring and get the chance to cement their place on the depth chart. All three played as true freshman last season, and all three are projected as valuable reserves and special-teams contributors in 2018.