Huard: UW Huskies’ Michael Penix Jr. is mix of Geno Smith and Drew Lock
Fans of the UW Huskies have known all year long how great quarterback Michael Penix Jr. has been this season, but after leading Washington to a 37-34 upset over Oregon in Eugene, Penix has started to get more attention nationally. And for good reason.
Penix leads all D-1 quarterbacks in passing yards with 3,640 after nine games, and he’s completing 67.1% of his passes with 25 touchdowns, which is 10th in the nation. On Saturday against the Ducks, the UW Huskies star threw for 408 yards and two scores, with both touchdowns going for over 60 yards.
Penix has entered the NFL radar thanks to his incredible year for the Huskies, so who does he compare to? That’s the question former NFL and UW Huskies quarterback Brock Huard – who called UW-Oregon for FOX Sports on Saturday – tackled during Tuesday’s Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports 710 AM.
“There’s not one in the NFL right now,” Huard said.
Is that because Penix, who is 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, is left-handed and there’s just one lefty starter in the NFL right now?
“It’s a bunch of different factors,” Huard said.
The first name he pointed to is, ironically, a former Oregon Duck in Justin Herbert of the L.A. Chargers. But even that isn’t the best comparison, Huard said.
“Justin’s bigger. (They’re similar) just from an arm angle (perspective) and like creating massive velocity from different positions and off-platform and a good athlete that can throw on the run and do these things,” he said. “But I don’t think that’s a great comp. Herbert was an uber healthy guy that was minimized in college with a system that was so simple, and it wasn’t until he got to the Chargers where you got to see the full array (of talent). That’s not the case with Penix. You see everything on display.”
In baseball, it’s common to see spray charts for hitters to show where they hit the ball to on a regular basis. Huard wants to see that in-game with Penix’s throws.
“I want like in baseball where they’ve got a spray chart and it shows you everywhere the ball is going, because Penix is about as fun as anybody in college football. It is everywhere and anywhere, including the 65-yard touchdown pass,” Huard said.
That 65-yarder was technically a 62-yarder, and it was maybe the play of the game. Penix hit Taj Davis down the left sideline from the far hashline for a very lengthy throw with a safety crashing on the route. But Penix had enough velocity to hit Davis not just for a huge gain, but the game-tying touchdown with roughly 3 minutes left in the game.
TIE GAME 😅
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Davis wasn’t really intended to be a target on that play, and was instead supposed to be a “clearout guy” to stretch Oregon’s defense, Huard said.
“And Penix is like nope, I think I’ll just drop that 50-yard seed,” he said.
While there may not be a clear one-to-one comparison for Penix at the NFL level, Huard thinks there’s a mix of two specific quarterbacks that come pretty close. And those two signal callers play across town from Penix at Lumen Field for the Seattle Seahawks.
“I’ll say this, if you blended Geno (Smith) and Drew (Lock), you’d have a pretty good look (at Penix),” Huard said. “Because Drew Lock has a phenomenal arm. Drew Lock (in college) at Missouri was doing the same things (as Penix). He was spraying it all over the field, vertical shots after vertical shots, slinging it out of his hand in the quick game. Drew Lock has an electric just Gumby arm. And then Geno obviously has the accuracy and sees the field. You blend Geno and Drew, that might be the best mix of Michael Penix in the NFL.”
Listen to the full second hour of Tuesday’s Brock and Salk at this link or in the player below.