Washington Huskies players to know ahead of College Football Playoff

Washington Huskies players to know ahead of College Football Playoff

Posted on


Read this article for free!

Plus get unlimited access to thousands of articles, videos and more with your free account!

Please enter a valid email address.

By entering your email, you are agreeing to Fox News and , which includes our . To access the content, check your email and follow the instructions provided.

The have an opportunity to end the Pac-12 era on a high note. 

With the conference essentially coming to an end, Washington snapped the Pac-12’s six-year drought by going 13-0 and defeating Oregon twice. 

A view of the Pac-12 title game

The Washington Huskies and Oregon Ducks on the Pac-12 logo during the Pac-12 championship at Allegiant Stadium Dec. 1, 2023, in Las Vegas.  (Ric Tapia/Getty Images)

The Huskies will head to the Big Ten in 2024, and the Pac-12 will have just two remaining teams following a summer of change. 

Washington will face Texas in a CFP semifinal Jan. 1 at 8:45 p.m. ET.

Let’s take a look at three Washington players to watch with the CFP semifinals just days away. 

Michael Penix Jr., senior quarterback 

Michael Penix Jr. has had a lengthy college career, and he now has an opportunity to finish on top after a spectacular season. 

The sixth-year senior lit up opposing defenses for most of the year, culminating in a trip to New York for the ceremony. 

In 13 games, Penix threw for 4,218 yards, 33 touchdowns and nine interceptions, leading one of the top offenses in the country. 

The Washington passing attack is the best in the nation, averaging 343.8 yards per game.

Michael Penix Jr. celebrates a touchdown

Michael Penix Jr. (9) of the Washington Huskies celebrates a touchdown in the second half during the Pac-12 championship game against the Oregon Ducks at Allegiant Stadium Dec. 1, 2023, in Las Vegas.  (Brandon Sloter/Image Of Sport/Getty Images)

Penix is a true pocket passer, rushing the ball just 29 times this year while throwing for the most yards in the nation. 

Penix will need to find his early season form Washington’s offense just seemed to be slightly off at the end of the season despite going undefeated. 

The Longhorns are as good as any team at stopping the run, putting the onus on Penix and Washington’s wide receiver corps to move the ball down the field. Texas was first against the run in the Big 12 but allowed 240.8 yards per game through the air, the fifth most in the conference. 

Rome Odunze, junior wide receiver

Penix may have received the Heisman buzz, but it’s Rome Odunze who may very well be Washington’s best player. 

The junior wide receiver is projected to be a first-round pick in the and was second in the country in receiving yards (1,428). He hauled in 13 touchdowns, sixth most in the nation. 

“Our connection definitely comes from repetition and practices, stuff like that. I know that each and every rep, he’s going to give me 100%. I don’t have to worry about him taking the rep off. And I feel like that’s definitely what it comes from, because once you start getting people taking reps off and not always giving that 100%, being that same guy every day, that’s when things become inconsistent,” Penix said on Seattle Sports radio when discussing his connection with Odunze.

“But, for us, it has been very consistent because he’s been one of those guys that’s always going to be where I need him.”

Rome Odunze scores a touchdown

Rome Odunze (1) of the Washington Huskies scores a touchdown against the Washington State Cougars during the second quarter at Husky Stadium Nov. 25, 2023, in Seattle.  (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Whenever the Huskies needed a play this season, it was Odunze who came up big. 

In Week 7 against Oregon, it was Odunze who scored the go-ahead touchdown with under two minutes remaining. In the Apple Cup against , it was Odunze who got the ball on fourth and 1 in Washington’s own territory with the season on the line. And in the rematch with Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game, Odunze had eight catches for 108 yards. 

Dillon Johnson, junior running back

Washington will need to keep the Texas defense honest, and Dillon Johnson is no slouch.

While the Huskies are known for slinging the ball all over the field, Johnson came on in the second half of the season, averaging 136.6 yards per game in the last five contests, including a 256-yard performance . 

In the Pac-12 title game, Johnson ran for 152 yards and two touchdowns as the Huskies were able to outmuscle the Ducks. 

Dillon Johnson rushes against Oregon

Dillon Johnson (7) of the Washington Huskies runs the ball during the fourth quarter against the Oregon Ducks during the Pac-12 championship at Allegiant Stadium Dec. 1, 2023, in Las Vegas.  (Ian Maule/Getty Images)

The Texas run defense will be Johnson’s toughest test of the season.

“Their front four, front five, whatever you want to say, is elite,” Johnson said on Seattle Sports Radio when discussing the Longhorns’ defense. 

“No. 90 [Byron Murphy II] and No. 93 [T’Vondre Sweat] in particular, those guys will be playing on Sundays. They’re really good. They have a really good defense. They fly around. They’re a physical football team, and they play as a unit. It’s going to be a great test for us, and we’re looking forward to it.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *