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Five things to know about Dominique Hampton

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The Washington Commanders added more depth to their defensive backs by taking Dominique Hampton in the fifth round. Here are five things to know about the newest member of the secondary.

He's the most utilized player in Washington history.

The University of Washington football program has been around for 132 years with hundreds of quality players passing through the locker room.

None of them have appeared in more games than Hampton.

Hampton, who joined the Huskies out of Glendale, Arizona, spent six years in Washington, appearing in 57 games along the way. After playing four games during his freshman season, he was a permanent fixture for the Huskies' defense, playing 11 of 13 games in 2019 and all four games of the COVID-shortened 2020 season.

Hampton's responsibility increased during the 2021 campaign. He got his first start against Stanford and started in 26 of his final 27 games.

There were a couple of factors in play as it became possible that Hampton would break the school record, which was held at the time by kicker Peyton Henry with 56 games. First, Washington needed to make the College Football Playoff. Then, they would need to make it past their opponent to play in the national championship game.

Sure enough, Washington accomplished both, and Hampton beat out his former teammate by one game while playing a position that demands much more physical contact.

"That's quite a compliment," Hampton said last year via Sports Illustrated. "You know, it's football and you get dinged up a little bit, but we have a great medical staff that's able to back me every day and get me back on the field, doing what I love."

He's faced Jayden Daniels before.

Hampton and No. 2 overall pick Jayden Daniels are the first players in a new era for the Commanders, one that will hopefully include more wins and playoff appearances. While the team is excited about the entire draft class, most of the fans' enthusiasm is centered around Daniels, who could be the answer at quarterback Washington has been trying to find for decades.

Hampton knows Daniels is ready for that challenge. He knows firsthand how difficult the quarterback is to prepare for.

"I thought he was extremely slippery," Hampton said. "He was accurate with the ball."

Hampton and Daniels' only matchup came in 2021 -- Daniels' final season at Arizona State. Daniels wasn't quite the player he ended up being at LSU, but there were flashes of his athleticism. He completed 10-of-16 passes for 90 yards with a touchdown and an interception to go with 56 yards and a score on 15 carries.

Daniels had to mount a comeback, down 14-0, to secure the 35-30 win. He started off with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Curtis Hodges with 46 seconds left in the first half. Then, with the Huskies still down 10 points, Daniels led the Sun Devils on a 20-play, 81-yard drive that ended with him punching in a four-yard score to cut the deficit to three points.

With less than five minutes left to play, Daniels added 29 rushing yards to a 56-yard scoring drive that gave Arizona State the lead for good.

The hope is that Daniels can accomplish something similar at the NFL level, and Hampton is probably happy that he doesn't have to worry about facing Daniels anymore.

"Jayden's very talented," Hampton said. "Can't wait to watch him."

Check out the top photos of new Washington Commanders safety Dominique Hampton.

He had several game-changing plays in high school.

Like several draft picks, Hampton was a star in high school. He attended Centennial High School in Glendale, where he was a top 50 cornerback in the country and appeared in the state finals on the track team.

Hampton wrapped up his high school career with a 5A state championship win in 2017 -- Centennial's third title in four years. It wasn't a close victory, as they ended up winning the game, 42-21, over Notre Dame Prep, but Hampton played a critical role in securing the win and getting to the championship in the first place.

After easily handling Sunnyslope in the first round, 28-2, Centennial had to survive Chaparral and Liberty. Hampton came up clutch in both games, securing an interception to help his team advance. Centennial claimed victory by a combined 11 points, so Hampton's turnovers turned out to be even more crucial.

And with the state championship on the line, Hampton grabbed his third interception in as many games and scored on a 59-yard reception.

He likes being physical.

Hampton eventually found a permanent position in 2023, but it took him a while to get there.

Hampton was recruited to Washington as a cornerback, and that was where he started his college career. But once he returned to the field following his redshirt season, the Huskies' coaching staff decided to move him to safety. That led to him being bumped into a hybrid role known as the "Husky" position on the team's defense.

He entered his sixth season moving back to safety, and that's where he felt the most comfortable.

"It allows me to just come down the hill and hit," he said via SI, "which is really what I like to do."

That's not to say Hampton lacked opportunities to be physical in the Husky role. The position allowed him to use all his skill set, but he was often lined up in coverage. Hampton would rather be hitting offensive players.

"I felt I could fit in his spot pretty well in physicality, movement and different communication," he said. "Just learning that."

Hampton led the team with 109 tackles, which earned him an Honorable Mention All-Pac-12 selection. So, clearly, the switch worked out in his favor.

Hampton will have to find a new role with the Commanders during his rookie season, but the coaching staff has a plan for him like the rest of the draft picks. You can bet that plan involves getting Hampton to do what he does best.

He's viewed as a sleeper draft pick.

Day 3 picks normally face an uphill battle when it comes to making a roster, but NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah believes that Hampton has a solid future in the pros.

"This guy has really quick eyes from the middle of the field as a safety," Jeremiah told media members via USA Today. "He's physical, will come downhill, shed blocks. He's a little bit late to find the ball in man coverage, but in zone coverage, he sees it really, really well."

By many analysts' perspectives, the Commanders got good value by taking Hampton -- a projected fourth-round pick -- late in the fifth round. He was one of the most experienced defensive backs in the draft, showing a willingness to help in run support and good vision for a safety. While he does have some areas that need to be smoothed over, like his shortcomings in man coverage,'s Lance Zierlein believed he had enough that teams would want to take a swing on him.

Washington ended up being that team, and Hampton thinks it's a perfect fit.

"I feel like it's a hand in glove fit in terms of what [Head Coach] Dan Quinn runs in terms of defense and how I like to play defense. I feel I can add just physicality and relentlessness, making sure that I bring my best effort every day."

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