Huard: Why UW Huskies QB Michael Penix Jr. is returning for 1 more year

Dec 5, 2022, 11:24 AM
UW Huskies Michael Penix Jr...
Michael Penix Jr. of the Washington Huskies passes against the Colorado Buffaloes at Husky Stadium on November 19, 2022. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Fans of the UW Huskies football program got some unexpected news on Sunday when star quarterback Michael Penix Jr. announced he’s returning to Montlake in 2023 for one more season.

UW Huskies QB Michael Penix Jr. returning for 2023 season

The move caught many by surprise for a number of reasons.

First, Penix has been one of the nation’s top passers this year, leading the country in passing yards while completing 66% of his passes and throwing 29 touchdowns. His play has been instrumental in the Huskies going 10-2 under first-year head coach Kalen DeBoer, Penix’s offensive coordinator at Indiana in 2019. This season was also the first time in Penix’s college career that he has been able to play more than six games in a single season. Many thought he’d go pro after a healthy and very successful 2022 season.

But there was also the timing of it as the Huskies are still more than three weeks away from their Alamo Bowl date with Texas.

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The timing of Penix’s announcement certainly caught the eye of former UW and NFL quarterback Brock Huard.

“See, back in my day, when I put in my report for a grade back in the draft evaluation, it took until about the New Year before it came back,” Huard said Monday morning on Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Brock and Salk. “I don’t even know if he’s had enough time yet – the season just ended, championship weekend just ended – that he could put his report in and get a report back.”

That report is common for underclassman who are considering entering the NFL Draft and forgoing remaining eligibility, as it gives players a grade of where they’d likely be drafted should they declare.

Things have certainly changed, though, since Huard was starring for the Huskies in the 1990s.

“A big difference in this day and age is you already have agents that work for you. You already have marketing people that work for you – legally,” he said. “They can go out and create NIL deals and get you money. And I’m sure many of those people are connected with scouts and GMs. So there is much much more information that’s disseminated much, much earlier.”

Ultimately, Huard thinks something a guest of the show recently told them is the case.

Draft expert Matt Miller joined Brock and Salk last week, and after discussing the Seahawks’ 2022 draft class and potential picks next April, he was also asked about Penix’s draft stock.

Despite some speculation that Penix had played his way into being drafted in the first two or three rounds, Miller told Huard and co-host Mike Salk that that likely wasn’t the case.

“I believe that he heard what we heard last week. And that was Matt Miller, a scout, saying, ‘Yeah, right now, Penix is not a first- or second-round pick,'” Huard said. “Could that change from December to April? Can he overwhelm and wow people through the process? Yeah. But is there a risk from December to April in him doing that? There is.”

It’s also unclear which other quarterbacks will be in this draft, Huard said. There are two clear top quarterbacks for this cycle, too, in Alabama’s Bryce Young and Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud. With another stellar campaign in 2023, Penix may be entering the 2024 draft in the same conversation as Young and Stroud are in for this upcoming draft.

“They’ve got a lot more equity in the bank than (Penix) does with the 12-game season this year. That he and his people just said, ‘I’m gonna bet on myself, and I’m going to come back to school, and if (wide receiver) Rome Odunze and the pieces come back offensively, I’ll throw for another 4,500 yards. And guess what? There won’t be risk from December to April. I will be the Bryce Young, I will be the C.J. Stroud, I will have the hay in the barn and be a top-10 pick next season,'” Huard said.

You can listen to Huard’s full comments in Blue 88, the final segment of the podcast at this link or in the player below.

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Huard: Why UW Huskies QB Michael Penix Jr. is returning for 1 more year