Updated Monday, February 25, 2013 at 01:39 PM
INDIANAPOLIS — The most vocal of the Trufant brothers was left speechless, but just for a moment.
Desmond had been asked if he was the best player in his family and the University of Washington cornerback laughed before offering an answer.
"I can't say that yet," said Desmond, a senior. "I've still got a lot to prove. They played in the NFL at a high level. I've still got to do that, then maybe you can ask me that."
That's an appropriately deferential answer, an acknowledgment of the very different but equally remarkable paths walked by the brothers who preceded him. Marcus entered through the NFL's front door, a first-round pick who just finished his 10th season with Seattle while Isaiah worked his way in the backdoor coming out of Eastern Washington, playing both arena football and in the UFL before catching on with the Jets in 2010.
Now comes Desmond, the youngest sibling in the family who at 5 feet 11 is as tall as Marcus with plenty of Isaiah's quickness and is likely to be chosen in the latter half of the first round in April's draft.
He is the only player from Washington at the league's scouting combine this year, and he will compete in physical drills like the 40-yard dash and vertical leap on Tuesday as teams seek to quantify the athleticism that can so clearly be traced through the family.
It started with Marcus, whose quick-swiveling hips made him so coveted coming out of Washington State in 2003. Seattle chose him with the 11th pick of that draft. It continued with Isaiah, whose combination of quickness and persistence allowed him to reach the NFL despite being 5-8.
Desmond played four years at Washington and is a little bit more demonstrative and vocal than the siblings who preceded him.
"They're way more relaxed and chill on the field," Desmond said. "I think just being the youngest brother, I always had to fight my way on the court or the field or just to play video games or anything with them, and it has definitely translated to the field."
It's a remarkable story for the family, the city of Tacoma where the family is from and really for the entire state. These three brothers played for the three largest college football programs in the state, and might all be playing in the NFL next season. Isaiah is recovering from a knee injury and preparing for his fourth season with the Jets while Marcus is an unrestricted free agent who just finished a one-year contract with the Seahawks, serving as the team's fifth defensive back in nickel formations.
Asked how well Washington prepared him for the NFL, Trufant pointed to his senior season under defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox.
"I feel like I'm a man-to-man corner," Trufant said. "I can play zone as well, but I feel man is my strength. And in the league, you've got to be able to man up. Receivers are great, you've got to be able to read and react to be out there on that island."
That island is a place where the Trufants have made a legacy, starting with Marcus, and continuing with Isaiah. The two older brothers traveled to Mobile, Ala., last month to watch Desmond play at the Senior Bowl, an all-star game where he was by all accounts outstanding in practice against receiving prospects.
Being asked about his brothers isn't something that Desmond ever gets tired of, either.
"It's all good," Desmond said. "I'm a family first type of person so I have no problem answering these questions."
Just don't ask him to declare himself the best of the bunch. Not yet anyway.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @dannyoneil.
DEAN RUTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES
Desmond Trufant recovers a fumble in December's bowl game against Boise State. Trufant excels in man-to-man coverage and should be a high draft pick.