Huard: Penix ‘elevates the room’ for UW Huskies but isn’t assured to start

Dec 16, 2021, 9:27 AM
UW Huskies Michael Penix Jr....
Quarterback Michael Penix Jr of the Indiana Hoosiers throws downfield in the second quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes. (Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
(Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

The UW Huskies have a new quarterback on the roster for the 2022 season, and it’s someone who knows head coach Kalen DeBoer quite well.

Former Indiana QB Penix Jr. transfers to UW Huskies, rejoins DeBoer

That would be Michael Penix Jr., who played at Indiana the last four years, including in 2019 when DeBoer was the program’s offensive coordinator. He announced earlier this week that he is transferring to the UW Huskies.

Penix had his best collegiate season with DeBoer as his play caller, completing over 68% of his passes for just under 1,400 yards and 10 touchdowns in six games in 2019.

Penix joins two-year starter Dylan Morris and highly-touted redshirt-freshman Sam Huard as UW Huskies quarterbacks on scholarship for the 2022 season.

What does Penix’s arrival in Seattle mean for that position group? Former UW Huskies quarterback Brock Huard, whose nephew is Sam Huard, shared his thoughts on the latest Brock and Salk Podcast on 710 ESPN Seattle.

“I think it elevates the room, which is what every coach is going to be after in this free agency of quarterbacks,” he told co-host Mike Salk. “And this year in particular, I think is unique because of the (added year of bonus eligibility due to COVID) and just the transactional nature of this offseason with so many coaches moving and players moving. I think a new coach like Kalen DeBoer wants to elevate the talent in that room. And with no Jake Haener and it’s just Dylan Morris and Sam Huard on scholarship, you have to elevate that room.”

Huard brought up Haener because he starred for DeBoer at Fresno State the last two years and he was reportedly going to transfer to Washington this offseason before he announced he was staying at Fresno. That was notable as Haener actually started his college career with the UW Huskies before transferring to Fresno State.

But Haener didn’t re-join his former coach in DeBoer and Penix did. What do we need to know about the UW Huskies’ newest quarterback?

“Penix is a guy that has suffered tremendous, tremendous injuries in his career,” Huard said. “I called probably four or five Indiana games with him, (including) two this last season. I believe he had an injury in high school, he’s had multiple ACL (tears) in college, multiple separated shoulders in college.”

As a result of all those injuries, Penix has never played more than six games in a single season.

Due in part to that injury history, Huard says it’s no sure thing that Penix is the UW Huskies’ starting quarterback in 2022.

“At his peak, he was pretty, pretty good and pretty dynamic and won some big games.” Huard said. “But he also has been so beat up physically and I think emotionally mentally as well. He needed a change, like it was done, it was over at Indiana for him. So I think it elevates town to the room creates more competition. But I do not put this in anywhere near the same vein is if a Jake Haener were to come here and he would be absolutely the starter it is his job. … This is going to be much more of an open competition in the spring.”

Listen to the latest Brock and Salk Podcast at this link or in the player below.

Heaps: What arrival of QB Michael Penix Jr. means for UW Huskies

Brock and Salk podcast

Brock and Salk

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Huard: Penix ‘elevates the room’ for UW Huskies but isn’t assured to start