Huard: What to know about UW Huskies transfer QB target Will Rogers

Dec 14, 2023, 8:09 AM

UW Huskies Will Rogers...

Will Rogers of the Mississippi State Bulldogs throws the ball on Sept. 17, 2022. (Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

(Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

The UW Huskies are preparing for a big game against Texas in the College Football Playoff, but they’re also working behind the scenes on next year’s roster.

Huard: Why No. 2 UW Huskies’ matchup vs No. 3 Texas favors Washington

The 2024 Huskies will look very different from this season’s team with many of Washington’s top players set to graduate or declare for the NFL Draft. That includes star quarterback Michael Penix Jr., who is finishing his final collegiate season.

So who will succeed Penix as QB1 for the Huskies next year? That picture is getting a bit clearer this week.

Dylan Morris, who started in 2020 and 2021 and served as Penix’s backup these past two seasons, is entering the transfer portal. Meanwhile, Washington is reportedly hosting Will Rogers, formerly of Mississippi State, on a visit this weekend.

Rogers appeared in 43 games for the Bulldogs over the last four years, passing for 12,315 yards, the most in Mississippi State history and second-most in SEC history. He also threw 94 touchdown passes during that span.

Former NFL and UW quarterback Brock Huard broke down what you need to know about Rogers during Wednesday’s Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports.

“He’s a pretty interesting guy when you dig into his story. He actually some connections to the Pacific Northwest,” Huard said. “… His final two schools when he was making his choice as a three-star prospect out of the state of Mississippi were Washington State and Mississippi State. And it was Washington State because of one Mike Leach, who had a connection with one Gardner Minshew, who happened to play for Will Rogers’ dad in high school.”

Minshew had a ton of success for WSU under Leach in 2018, and ultimately Leach wound up coaching Rogers at Mississippi State, where Rogers shined.

“He played as a freshman and had his two best years his sophomore and junior year. He got beat up this year,” Huard said.

The Huskies hit a grand slam by landing Penix in the transfer portal ahead of the 2022 season, and Huard stressed that Rogers is not Penix.

“Michael Penix was a guy and is a guy that throws a football unlike most. That is not Will Rogers,” he said. “Will is 6 foot 2, 210 (pounds) and is much more on the accuracy, anticipation and touch end of things. Super, super productive.”

Why Rogers isn’t a lock for UW’s QB1 spot

But he’s gonna have to come in here and compete. Unlike Penix where you felt like OK, this is going to be his job, (Rogers is) going to have to compete.”

With Morris leaving, that means Rogers’ competition, should he come to UW, is clear.

“He’s gonna have to compete with a guy that we’re going to talk about,” Huard said. “And in fact, when you get out in the spring and you watch the Huskies practice and you look at Austin Mack, you’re gonna say who is that? He is a 6-6 and I bet you by the spring he’s 235 pounds. He is a true freshman this last year.”

Mack was a four-star recruit out of Folsom High School, which is where former UW quarterback Jake Browning played.

Mack was initially a member of the class of 2024, but he graduated high school early to get on campus this year. He’s just 17 years old and was the No. 8 quarterback and No. 73 overall player in the 2023 recruiting cycle, per 247Sports.

Additionally, Mack has gotten a lot more work in behind the scenes than some may know about, Huard said. Morris battled injuries late in the year, meaning Mack worked with the second team and was Penix’s backup for games.

“He is a gifted sucker, now. I mean he can spin a football,” Huard said. When (Huard’s son) Titus came on the trip to the (Oregon-Oregon State game) and the Apple Cup and got behind the scenes and we’re on the field pregame, he’s like, ‘Dad, who is that? Who is that Cam Newton-looking guy that’s huge and absolutely spins the football and throws darts everywhere?'”

That guy, of course, was Mack.

“Keep an eye out on him. So before you just crown Will Rogers and say, ‘Yeah, he’s gonna be the next Michael Penix,’ there’s a reason that Dylan Morris transferred,” Huard said. “Because I think he saw the writing on the wall that it wasn’t going to be him next year. It’s going to be a transfer coming in and competing with this super, super talented freshman.”

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.

More on Washington football

10 Texas players to know as UW Huskies prepare for Sugar Bowl
• Penix 2nd in Heisman voting for best finish in UW Huskies history
• Huard: UW Huskies getting a new ‘force’ on defense for CFP
• DeBoer named coach of the year and Penix wins Maxwell award
• Texas reporter details what UW Huskies are facing in Sugar Bowl
• Pac-12 Networks’ Yogi Roth: UW Huskies ‘very capable’ of winning title

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