Huard: How UW Huskies QB Penix can be NFL Draft pick in first 3 rounds

Sep 22, 2022, 12:21 PM
UW Huskies Michael Penix Jr...
UW Huskies QB Michael Penix Jr. throws against Michigan State on Sept. 17, 2022. (Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Kalen DeBoer era for the UW Huskies couldn’t have started much better.

Huard: Why UW Huskies, WSU Cougars are both back on rise

After resounding wins over Kent State (45-20) and FCS Portland State (52-6), the Huskies had their first big test under first-year head coach DeBoer in No. 11 Michigan State last weekend.

UW got off to a very fast start and never looked back, beating the Spartans 39-28 and vaulting the Huskies into the No. 18 spot in the top 25 poll.

The biggest reason for the UW Huskies’ fast start? New quarterback Michael Penix Jr., who transferred to Washington from Indiana, where DeBoer was his offensive coordinator and quarterback coach in 2019.

Through three games, Penix is looking like a Heisman hopeful as he’s completed 66% of his passes for 1,079 yards and 10 touchdowns to one interception. He’s second in the country in passing yards and tied for fourth in passing touchdowns.

Could Penix be headed to a pro career as a quarterback? Here’s what a former UW Huskies QB Brock Huard, who spent six years in the NFL after being a third-round pick of the Seahawks, said Wednesday morning during Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports 710 AM.

“Yes, he could,” Huard said of Penix.

Through three games, Penix can “spin it” and has shown “tremendous feel for the game” while leading the UW Huskies offense, Huard said. Additionally, Penix has put together quite the highlight reel throughout his NCAA career, Huard said.

“If all you did was put together – like these kids do these days with their Hudl tape and ‘All I’m gonna put on is four minutes of highlights’ – his highlight tape would be awfully impressive,” Huard said. “Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State. Big stages, big moments.”

As noted, Penix played at Indiana in the Big Ten before coming to Washington, regularly going up against powerhouse schools like Huard mentioned. The knock on Penix entering this year, though, has been health. Despite debuting in 2018, Penix has played a total of 23 games (including this season) and has never played more than six in a single season.

“The challenge is … going to be the body more than anything else,” Huard said. “It’s going to be the multiple ACLs and multiple shoulder injuries. And that’s going to be the biggest key for him over this season. Does he have the most important of abilities? That’s durability at that position. And that’s only 12 weeks … into hopefully maybe a Pac-12 championship game.”

If Penix does lead the UW Huskies to a Pac-12 title game a year after they went just 4-8, Penix’s draft stock should be extremely high, Huard said.

“If he elevates this team to a Pac-12 championship game and he plays every single game (in what) is a quarterback-driven system … (if Penix) plays 12 weeks and gets them to a title game, he will be drafted and could be drafted in the first three rounds,” Huard said.

Listen to the second hour of Wednesday’s Brock and Salk at this link or in the player below.

UW Huskies make statement, beat No. 11 Michigan St 39-28

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Huard: How UW Huskies QB Penix can be NFL Draft pick in first 3 rounds