UW Foes May Find Weekend in the Hamptons is No Vacation

Dan Raley

Gazing at a stat sheet, a Colorado recruiter wanted to know why cornerback Dominique Hampton didn't have more interceptions and tackles in his junior year at Centennial High School in the Phoenix suburbs.

Teams just wouldn't come his way, Centennial coach Richard Taylor told the man.

All this talent scout had to do was sit through Hampton's opening and closing games as a senior to see what happened when they did.

The long and speedy defender came up with 65- and 85-yard interception returns for touchdowns -- in the same quarter -- to open the 2017 season and he ran back a 59-yarder for a score in the Arizona 5A state championship game. 

Any more questions?

"I'm a big-play corner who's going to get in your face every play," Hampton told Sports360AZ in 2017.

Today, he's a University of Washington sophomore who's been pushing for more time. It's highly competitive. But that's why he came to Seattle.

The 6-foot-2, 209-pound Hampton brings that great size to the Husky secondary. Yet similar to Kyler Gordon, he has some technique issues to work out before taking away someone's job. 

"He's had his ups and downs," defensive-back coach Will Harris said. "But after getting a year under his belt, he's going to have tremendous growth. We've always been so excited about him."

Hampton played in 11 of 13 games in 2019 for secondary that returns all three cornerback starters. The season before, he was limited to four outings to maintain his redshirt season, but he came away from the Pac-12 championship game against Utah as the Huskies' special-teams player of the game.

More than his UW peers, he seemingly has had to continually prove himself. It didn't matter that he was rated as Arizona's top cornerback recruit. To get the Huskies interested, he had to show them. Hampton attended their summer football camp and came away with a scholarship offer. He wound up picking the the UW over Oregon and Colorado.

"I chose Washington because of the opportunity to get better," Hampton told AZCentral.com, "and to play for a top 5 program that's always competing for a championship every year."

Entering his third season in the Husky program, he's likely going to need to stay patient and wait for players such starting cornerbacks Elijah Molden and Keith Taylor, both seniors, to finish their careers and move on.

His biggest obstacle is his own patience. 

He's still very well regarded by Jimmy Lake and the rest of the coaching staff. He might have to have the same thing happen to him at the UW that took place at Centennial.

Test him and see what happens.

SUMMARY: Hampton regularly gets on the field, subbing in for the other guys. But he's a step behind them, still awaiting his first starting assignment. 

GRADE (From 1 to 5): He grades out at a 3. The big thing for him, like with so many other collegians in his situation, is to not feel disrespected. Wait your turn. It's coming. 

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