National Football League
Michael Penix Jr. discusses career, what's next ahead of 2024 NFL Draft
National Football League

Michael Penix Jr. discusses career, what's next ahead of 2024 NFL Draft

Updated Apr. 18, 2024 7:52 p.m. ET

Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. is arguably one of the most fascinating players in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Penix, who turns 24 in May, has been one of the best signal-callers in college football for the past two years, helping Washington reach the College Football Playoff National Championship last season despite his checkered injury history.

He referred to his injuries as "bad luck" on Thursday's edition of "The Herd" and shared that he plans to make noise at the pro level.

"Each and every game, you're going to be playing against the best; that's what it is at the next level," Penix said. "Playing in these games [at Washington] definitely prepared me … and it got me better. It allowed me to process even faster. Just slow the game down. Just go out there and make big-time plays, like me and my team did each and every week."


Across his two seasons at Washington, Penix averaged 4,772 passing yards, 33.5 passing touchdowns, 9.5 interceptions and a 154.2 passer rating per season, while completing 65.4% of his passes. He also averaged 3.5 rushing touchdowns per season and was the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy award in 2023.

The lefty transferred to Washington after spending the first four seasons of his collegiate career with Indiana (2018-21). In each of his four seasons in Bloomington, Penix suffered a season-ending injury, including two torn ACLs on the same knee and two shoulder injuries (one to his throwing shoulder and one to his non-throwing shoulder).

Penix is part of a QB-rich 2024 draft class, which includes the previous two Heisman Trophy winners — USC's Caleb Williams and LSU's Jayden Daniels — plus North Carolina's Drake Maye, Michigan's J.J. McCarthy and Oregon's Bo Nix.

Washington had one of the best offenses in the country last season, as it averaged 343.7 passing yards (second in the Pac-12), 118.4 rushing yards (ninth), 462.1 total yards (third) and 36.0 points (third) per game. The highlight of the Huskies' offense was Penix and his dynamite wide receiver trio of Rome Odunze, Ja'Lynn Polk and Jalen McMillan.

Washington QB Michael Penix: Rome Odunze is the 'best WR in the draft'

Odunze averaged 83.5 receptions for 1,392.5 yards and 10 touchdowns per season over the past two seasons; Polk totaled 69 receptions for 1,159 yards and nine touchdowns last season; McMillan totaled 79 receptions for 1,098 receiving yards and nine touchdowns in 2022.

Odunze is expected to be one of the first receivers off the board in next week's draft, and his college quarterback has nothing but praise for him.

"He's the best receiver in the draft," Penix said of Odunze. "He's the complete package. He's everything you want in a receiver. The way he works, day in and day out in practice, it's going to show in the game. That's why I feel like, with all my guys, they just made the game so easy because of how hard they worked in practice. You get high-caliber guys like that, sometimes you might feel like they can take a rep off in practice on a run play or something. None of my receivers, they weren't those guys. They're catching the ball. They're sprinting 20-to-30 yards after the catch. Each and every time they get the ball, they're blocking hard, not taking any plays off. 

"And that just speaks [to] character, and obviously, whenever they do that, it translates to the football field, and Rome does it the best."

Washington's 2023 season ended at the hands of Michigan in the title game, which came after the former went 14-0, won the Pac-12 and beat Texas in the CFP semifinal round. The Huskies went a combined 25-3 with Penix under center.

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Michael Penix Jr.
Rome Odunze

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