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Tribal Warfare
08-08-2011, 02:12 PM
Counting down the Top 10 Huskies --- No. 2: Alameda Ta'amu (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/huskyfootballblog/2015840187_counting_down_the_top_10_huski_7.html)

The countdown continues with the player who may be the key to Washington's defense this season --- defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu (pictured against Oregon State last season).

Ta'amu was the key to Washington's 19-7 win over Nebraska, which considering everything might have been the best performance by a UW defense in a decade or so.

Ta'amu dominated the middle all night as the Huskies held Nebraska to 91 yards rushing on 41 attempts --- a complete turnaround from the first game between the two when the Cornhuskers rushed for 383 yards on 54 carries.

He also recovered and returned a fumble deep into Nebraska territory early in the game, a play that set a tone for all that followed, and then forced a safety on a holding call in the end zone late in the game.

That was the best game in a season when Ta'amu won the team's Lineman of the Year award, and helped move him quickly up 2012 mock drafts.

Here's one recent mock from Rob Rang that has Ta'amu going No. 31 in the first round.

Ta'amu said he was in the best shape of his career in the spring, giving further hope for a breakthrough senior season. Once topping the scales at roughly 380, he's now down to 330, allowing the athleticism that enabled him to also play basketball at Rainier Beach High to finally shine through.

Indeed, much of what UW wants to do defensively this season rests on Ta'amu's broad shoulders. The hope is he can take up a lot of attention inside to create some room for the speed rushers on the outside --- all of which would combine to give the Huskies the kind of push rush to allow UW to play more man coverage in the secondary.

The ability of Ta'amu and the defense to do that this season will go a long way toward determining the fate of this season, as well.

Here's the rest of the list:

No. 10: PK Erik Folk
No. 9: DE Hau'oli Jamora
No. 8 OG Colin Porter
No. 7: DL Everrette Thompson
No. 6: LB Cort Dennison
No. 5: LT Senio Kelemete
No. 4: CB Desmond Trufant
No. 3: WR Jermaine Kearse