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Let’s remember when WSU was ‘DB U’

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The Cougars had a quite a run of pros for a while there.

St. Louis Rams v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

When UW and Colorado both had three defensive backs selected in the first four rounds in this year’s NFL draft, there was a lot of talk about who was the cream of the crop in the Pac-12 as far as secondaries. As incredible that these achievements are, let’s not forget about the time when WSU was producing secondary starters to the NFL on a regular basis.

Starting in the late 1990s and ending around the start of the Paul Wulff “era,” WSU head coach Mike Price, defensive coordinator and future head coach Bill Doba, and secondary coach Chris Ball managed to unearth an phenomenal run of back end defenders.

The first real success story was Lamont Thompson. An unheralded recruit who signed late, Thompson immediately stepped in and started part way through his freshman year for WSU’s 1997 Rose Bowl team and led the Pac-10 in interceptions. He finished tied as WSU’s all-time interception leader despite leaving early for the NFL. Thompson was drafted in the second round by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2002. He had a six year NFL career starting 45 games and recording nine career interceptions.

Marcus Trufant continued the tradition being selected No. 11 overall by the Seattle Seahawks in 2003. Trufant was of course, one of the best cornerbacks in Seahawks history and a pro bowler.

In 2004, two more Cougar NFL starters entered with cornerback Jason David being drafted in the fourth round by the Colts and Erik Coleman being chosen in the fifth by the Falcons. David had a six year career where recorded he 16 interceptions and Coleman was a long time starting safety for the New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons for most of his eight-year career.

The most surprising turn of events came when both Hamza and Husein Abdullah had long careers in the league. The unheralded safeties definitely exceeded fans’ expectations as Hamza played seven years in the league after being drafted in the seventh round in 2005 and Husein played another eight years after going undrafted.

The well has run dry a little bit since the time when it seemed like if you started for the Cougar secondary you would play in the NFL, but Deone Bucannon is having a terrific career for the Arizona Cardinals and we have a high hopes for Shalom Luani with the Oakland Raiders.

So the next time a Husky fan (or more unlikely, alum) starts talking about “DB U,” remind them of this proven run of success in the pros that the Crimson and the Gray has already had. It has to rank with the best in conference history.

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