BROCK AND SALK

Huard: The 2 NFL WRs ‘phenomenal’ UW Huskies’ Odunze is blend of

Nov 22, 2023, 12:54 PM | Updated: 2:49 pm

UW Huskies Rome Odunze...

Rome Odunze of the Washington Huskies catches a touchdown pass on Nov. 11, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The undefeated UW Huskies have a Heisman hopeful on offense in star quarterback Michael Penix Jr., and throwing to maybe the nation’s best receiver sure doesn’t hurt.

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Penix’s top target this year has been Rome Odunze, who has 66 catches for 1,206 yards and 11 touchdowns this year. Odunze is a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation’s best pass catcher.

Not only is Odunze starring for the Huskies, he’s grabbing the attention of the NFL world.

“I’ll tell you week after week, he has been spectacular for the Washington Huskies,” ESPN NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. said this week. “He’s that 6-foot-2, 6-foot-3, 215-pound receiver with the length, the physicality … You think about where we are right now in terms of receivers, Marvin Harrison Jr. is way at the top but that No. 2 receiver, Rome Odunze could be at four or five overall on the big board.”

Kiper pointed to Odunze shining in UW’s latest win over Oregon State, which was in a rainstorm. Odunze caught two touchdowns in the win.

“Guys were dropping balls with gloves, without gloves. He wasn’t. He was the key guy that Penix looked to early and often and he came up big time late in that game to seal the victory,” Kiper said. “Rome Odunze is special. He reminds me a little bit, guys, of (star Bengals receiver) Ja’Marr Chase.”

Chase was the fifth overall pick in 2021 and has become one of the NFL’s best receivers. Is that the right comp for Odunze?

Former UW Huskies quarterback and current FOX Sports analyst Brock Huard shared his thoughts on that and more during Wednesday’s Brock and Salk.

“He’s pretty phenomenal, man. He really is,” Huard said. “… I got to watch in-person, I’ve watched him obviously on television for years, I got to see him practice multiple times and then you do just kind of put that game tape on and I can understand why those scouts and GMs and people that Mel is connected with are saying … be alert for this kid up in Seattle because he’s different.”

Huard doesn’t think Chase is a good 1-to-1 comparison for Odunze.

“Ja’Marr Chase is 6-foot, 200 pounds – big guy, super strong legs,” Huard said. “But coming out of school, he was not a tremendous route runner, was not terribly refined, but was just an absolute freak show athlete doing backflips on the field, running 4.38 at the combine. I don’t like the Ja’Marr Chase (comparison).”

Odunze is listed at 6-3 and 215 pounds.

Huard said another star NFL receiver with more size comes to mind.

“I actually went back and looked at my guy Mike Evans (of Tampa Bay), and Mike Evans was 6-5, 235 out of A&M,” Huard said. “If you blended those two (Chase and Evans), I think there’s a lot of Rome Odunze. He’s got just the twitch and the body control of a Ja’Marr Chase – not quite the athleticism … (Odunze is) gonna run in the high 4.4s, Mike Evans ran 4.5, but (Odunze) doesn’t have 6-5 and 9-foot arms and 230 pounds in his frame. He’s 6-3, 215. But he’s going to be a first-round pick. He’s going to be a top half of the first round pick. And the game tape and the production is just simply that that elite.”

Listen to the full second hour of Wednesday’s Brock and Salk at this link or in the player near the top of this story.

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Huard: The 2 NFL WRs ‘phenomenal’ UW Huskies’ Odunze is blend of