Washington football struck gold with Michael Penix Jr. last season. Sure, the Huskies expected him to be an upgrade at quarterback over what they had the year before, but no one outside of Kalen DeBoer really realized what kind of passer he could be.
He was elite.
Penix threw for 4,641 yards, which was good for second in the nation, to go along with 31 touchdowns which was the 13th-most in college football.
On top of that, he had the nation’s 13th-best QBR and completed 65 percent of his passes.
Simply put, Penix was really good. He was the second-best quarterback in the Pac-12 behind only Caleb Williams who ended up winning the Heisman Trophy in his first season at USC.
Heading into the 2023 season, Penix may very well be the nation’s best quarterback.
Washington football has a superstar on its hands
Sure, Williams will be back at USC this season, but the chances of him improving on his Heisman numbers are slim. He’s losing Jordan Addison and essentially every Heisman winner who returns the next season takes a step back. That’s not to say he will, but the odds are he won’t be as explosive.
But even if he is, I think Penix improves in 2023 and puts up even better numbers with the weapons he has coming back at his disposal.
Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan are both returning along with Ja’lynn Polk. On top of that, former four-star receiver prospect Germie Bernard has transferred in to compete for starting snaps. That gives Penix four legit targets that could all be WR1s on most teams.
Penix threw for 4,600 yards and 31 touchdowns in his first season at Washington and with another year under his belt, I’d bet that he approaches 5,000 again with 35-plus touchdowns.
If that happens, Penix would become the school’s third all-time leading passer (in just two years) and he’d also be third in Washington history in passing touchdowns behind only Jake Browning and Keith Price.
Penix deserved more Heisman love in 2022 after turning Washington completely around and leading the nation in passing for a good chunk of the year, but he should be at least a top 2-3 quarterback in the country in 2023.