SEATTLE — Kyler Gordon arrived at the University of Washington as an athletic anomaly.
In his senior season at Archbishop Murphy High School, Gordon piled up 841 receiving yards, 517 rushing yards, an 88-yard touchdown pass, 44 tackles and five interceptions. In the Husky Combine last spring, he finished first on the team in the vertical jump (42.5 inches), second in the 3-cone drill (6.52 seconds) and pro agility drill (3.87 seconds) and third in the broad jump (10 feet, five inches). Before he found football, he excelled as a boy both at competitive dance and kung fu.
So, yes, the athleticism isn’t an issue.
It also isn’t the reason the redshirt freshman has been practicing with the starters at cornerback in his second fall camp.
“Technique-wise, he’s come a long way,” said Jimmy Lake, the UW defensive coordinator. “He was a super athletic player that we signed, and he came here and we really just had to try to harness all that athleticism. He’s continuing to get better, definitely knows our defense and some of the wrinkles.
“Technique-wise still has a ways to go, just like a lot of the guys do. But I’m excited for his future. He’s been locked in. He’s been studying tape like a vet.”
Gordon will have to continue to study — and impress — to ultimately start against Eastern Washington on Aug. 31. As always, there’s intense competition in Lake’s secondary. Both redshirt freshman Dominique Hampton and freshman Trent McDuffie have been practicing with the second team and could potentially push for a larger role.
To this point, UW’s starting secondary has been consistent: cornerbacks Gordon and Keith Taylor, nickelback Elijah Molden and safeties Myles Bryant and Cameron Williams.
But with 17 days until the season opener, there’s plenty of time to shuffle the deck.