Spring position breakdown: Pac-12 North defensive backs, Part II

We continue our annual position-by-position spring previews but with the defense, it’s a little bit harder to completely categorize each team uniformly so we’re going with three groups -- DL, LBs and DBs.

We examined the South’s status in the secondary on Monday. Tuesday morning we started with three schools (alphabetically here, folks) in the North. We finish up the Pac-12 defensive backs with the final three schools in the North.

Stanford: Quick run down on what the Cardinal lost/might lose: cornerback Alex Carter declared for the NFL Draft; Wayne Lyons transferred away from Stanford; safeties Jordan Richards and Kyle Olugbode are out of eligibility; Zach Hoffpauir, who’s currently playing baseball for Stanford, has indicated that the MLB draft is a possibility this year. Add to that the factRonnie Harris is injured and sitting out of Stanford spring ball and that means a lot of reps for a lot of new faces. Cornerback Terrence Alexander and nickel back Taijuan Thomas have played well so far in the Cardinal camp, but Brandon Simmons, Alijah Holder, Alameen Murphy and Denzel Franklin will all have plenty of reps to improve their games. Safeties Kodi Whitfield and Dallas Lloyd both need to fend the young blood -- which there’s plenty of -- within the program.

Washington: A year ago, the UW defensive backs were the least experienced group on the field. Now, after the Huskies lost six of their front seven, the defensive backs are sittin’ pretty for Washington, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few question marks among the group. John Ross has mentioned that he’d like to play both ways, and we’ll see how that goes with Chris Petersen, but when it comes to the WR/DB debate, it sounds like there’s a better chance we see him mostly on the defensive side of the ball. But the other cornerback spot will be interesting. Sidney Jones, who finished the season with 61 tackles and two interceptions, looks to be the favorite, but you can’t underestimate Jermaine Kelly, who had the starting job before a season-ending ankle injury last fall, is back this spring and should be able to go full contact. At safety, stud Budda Baker and Kevin King have the inside tracks on the starting spots (the former way more so than the latter), but there will be competition for the two- and three-deep with Brandon Beaver, Trevor Walker and JUCO transfer/early enrollee Ezekiel Turner. This spring will be all about building consistency and depth in the secondary.

Washington State: The Cougars have a new defensive coordinator in Alex Grinch, who also will be coaching the defensive backs. Like Washington, the Cougars had a relatively young defensive back group last season that didn’t play too well, but it sounds like the Cougars DBs had a good offseason. The expectation is for the group to take a step forward, but that’ll be made a bit harder by the fact there will be some turnover in the group as Daquawn Brown -- who led the Cougars in tackles last year -- is no longer with the team. Keep an eye on safeties Darius Lemora and Sulaiman Hameed. At cornerback, Charleston White, who was the team’s 10th-leading tackler a year ago, should snag one job, while the other is between Marcellus Pippins and Pat Porter. The secondary will also get former Texas A&M receiver Sebastian LaRue ,who could factor in at several spots this spring.