For the Trufants, playing in the NFL is a family matter

Posted Mar 13, 2013

First, there was Marcus. Then, it was Isaiah. Now Desmond is about to become the third Trufant brother to play cornerback in the NFL, and he improved his draft stock again Wednesday at the Huskies’ Pro Day.

The last name was the same, and the fluidity of the hip turn and explosiveness of the first step coming out of the break were strikingly similar.

But the Trufant on display at the University of Washington’s Pro Day was Desmond, not Marcus. While Marcus Trufant was the Seahawks’ first-round selection in the 2003 NFL Draft, Desmond took another large leap on Wednesday toward insuring his status as a first-round pick in next month’s draft.

“It’s kind of like a déjà vu feeling,” Marcus said while standing on the sideline at Dempsey Indoor. “At the same time, it’s unreal because I’m old enough to remember when Des was a little baby. Now, to see it come full circle it’s just a good deal for him and I’m super excited.”

Marcus is the oldest of Lloyd and Constance Trufant’s three sons, and the pathfinder when it comes to all three finding their way into the NFL. At 32, Marcus is 10 years older than Desmond. Isaiah, the middle brother, just re-signed with the New York Jets. All three play the unforgiving position of cornerback.

Even though he’s now 5 feet 11½ and 192 pounds, Desmond grew up the little brother – a process he says definitely helped him get to where he is now.

“I always got pushed around a little bit, I had to push my way onto the court or whatever,” Desmond said after his workout and being whisked away by two representatives from one of the dozen teams in attendance.

“It was a very competitive household and it definitely translated to the field. I’m real competitive and always want to prove myself to people. So growing up like that it definitely helped me.”

Marcus saw this coming from an early age. On the day he signed his rookie contract with the Seahawks, Marcus nodded toward the then 12-year-old Desmond and said, “He’s going to be the best of the three.”

Reminded of that Wednesday, Marcus, who became an unrestricted free agent on Tuesday, offered, “He’s always been the standout, ever since he was a little kid. That’s from playing ball in elementary all the way through high school and then in college, he’s been doing his thing all the way through. So he’s always stood out and done well.”

Desmond stood out again on Wednesday, when he was joined by five draft-eligible teammates – defensive tackle Semisi Tokolahi, center Andrew Schaefer, fullback Jonathon Amosa, safety Justin Glenn and defensive back Anthony Gobern; as well as wide receiver Devin Aguilar, a former Husky who signed with the Tennessee Titans after the draft last year and was released on roster cut to 53 players.

Desmond did not run, jump or lift after posting top marks for his position in all three at the NFL Scouting Combine last month – a time of 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash; a 37.5-inch vertical leap; and 16 reps with 225 pounds in the bench press. What he did in the position and cone drills, however, was impressive.

“I don’t know that Desmond really needed to show anything today, to tell you the truth,” said Will Lewis, who played defensive back for the Seahawks and then worked in the team’s scouting department and front office for 13 years.

“He did everything at the combine, and was very impressive. If there was any question about his speed, he showed top-end speed. Then you watch him on film and you see all the football-related elements you need to see. He’s learned well from his brothers.”

After making Marcus the 11th pick in 2003 draft, then-coach Mike Holmgren said Trufant had the best hip turn he had ever seen. It’s a trait that seems to be hereditary.

“If Marcus had the best hip turn, he’s going to have to update that statement because this guy has pretty exceptional hip turn,” Lewis said. “And he’s really explosive coming out of his breaks. He brings the stuff the guys that size are supposed to bring – the explosiveness, the quickness, the change of direction, the hand/eye stuff.”

Wide receiver Jermaine Kearse was teammates with Desmond for three years with the Huskies and then last season with Marcus after signing with the Seahawks as a free agent following last year’s draft. After watching him on Wednesday, Kearse said Desmond is ready for life at the next level.

“Desmond competes at all times,” Kearse said. “No matter what the situation is, you can count on him to compete. He just has that fire under him and he’s going to give it his all every time you step up against him. He fears no one.”

As for the skill aspects of the game, Kearse added, “His technique is real good. He has the capability to press. He has the capability to play off. And even if he happened to get beat on the press, he has the speed to catch back up. So he has the tangibles to become a real good corner in the league.”

It’s all part of not only growing up a Trufant, but growing up the youngest of the Trufant brothers.

“Marcus kind of started the trend,” Lloyd said. “They were competitive as little boys. So they always tried to out-do each other. And because Desmond was the youngest, so he had to work his way up. I think that taught him how to work hard.”    

Each of the Trufant brothers went to Wilson High School. Marcus then attended Washington State University, while Isaiah went to Eastern Washington University and Desmond played at Washington.

How does this happen? How does one family from Tacoma produce three brothers who would not only play in the NFL, but play the same position?

“The secret, I guess, was the only thing we did was have them,” Lloyd said.