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Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. to Return for Senior Season, Forgo 2023 NFL Draft

Erin WalshDecember 5, 2022

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 19: Michael Penix Jr. #9 of the Washington Huskies passes during the second quarter against the Colorado Buffaloes at Husky Stadium on November 19, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The Washington Huskies will get another year of Michael Penix Jr. under center.

Penix announced Sunday that he has decided to forgo the 2023 NFL draft and return to Washington for his senior season. He said it was "one of the hardest decisions" of his life, before closing his post by saying that he believes the team will reach new heights next year.

Mike Penix Jr. @themikepenix

β˜”οΈ <a href="https://t.co/AcMdW9UeIb">pic.twitter.com/AcMdW9UeIb</a>

Mike Vorel @mikevorel

BREAKING: UW QB Michael Penix Jr. just announced on Instagram that he’s returning for the 2023 season <a href="https://t.co/tyZJnbdxtN">pic.twitter.com/tyZJnbdxtN</a>

The 2022 season was Penix's first with Washington. He spent the first four years of his college career at Indiana, where he was plagued by injuries, including a torn ACL in 2018 and 2020. He never appeared in more than six games in a season with the Hoosiers, posting a 12-5 record.

It wasn't until this year that Penix broke out as one of the top quarterbacks in the nation.

The 22-year-old leads college football with 4,354 passing yards and 362.8 passing yards per game. In addition, Penix has completed 66 percent of his passes and tossed 29 touchdowns against seven interceptions.

Led by Penix, the No. 12 Huskies finished the regular season 10-2. They are set to face the No. 21 Texas Longhorns in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29.

Penix's draft stock rose significantly this season, and he was expected to be a Day 2 pick at the latest had he decided to declare for the draft. Now that he's returning to Washington, he'll get to improve his draft stock even more.

With Penix's decision to return to Washington, the focus will be shifted to wide receivers Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan, who both could declare for the 2023 draft.

Odunze put together his best season this year, catching 70 passes for 1,088 yards and seven touchdowns in 11 games. He also rushed for six yards and a score. McMillan also had a career year, catching 71 passes for 1,040 yards and eight touchdowns in 12 games.

If both receivers return to Washington in 2023, the Huskies could make some serious noise in the Pac-12.