The Washington Huskies are expected to be in the hunt to land in the College Football Playoff this season. Led by a veteran roster with key playmakers on both sides of the ball, the Huskies will be a must-watch team. We’re taking a look at the Huskies’ 2024 NFL Draft prospects, their roster, and their schedule.
Washington Huskies Roster and Depth Chart Changes
With a stacked roster that lost six significant graduates, the Huskies didn’t have to do too much work in the transfer portal. Having star quarterback Michael Penix Jr., receivers Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan, and an experienced offensive line should be plenty for the offense to be explosive. The biggest question mark is at running back, where Cameron Davis will compete with incoming transfers Daniyel Ngata and Dillon Johnson.
The defense is similarly well-set. They added cornerback Jabbar Muhammad from Oklahoma State but will otherwise rely on incumbents to improve upon their 58th-ranked scoring unit. A whopping 10 starters are in their fourth or fifth season, so this is a set of grown men ready to enter battles.
Washington NFL Draft Prospects
Michael Penix Jr., QB
Penix first broke out at Indiana in 2019, but injuries and inconsistent play led to burning out at the school. But he landed at Washington and immediately became a star again, completing 65.3% of passes for a whopping 4,641 yards, 31 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. The lefty pocket passer proved to be a Heisman contender and NFL talent.
There’s a lot to like about Penix, as he’s an accurate, smart thrower who knows his own limitations and overcomes his average arm strength. His passing motion has improved greatly as he uses touch to deliver passes into the hands of his playmakers. He’s also willing to let his tremendous receivers go to work, trusting them in contested coverage.
The concern with Penix is his lack of physical traits. As Teddy Bridgewater did as a prospect and pro, Penix struggles to drive the ball into tight windows, and his passes hang just long enough to be a problem in the NFL. He’s not a runner and, therefore, he must be dominant from the pocket to be a plus NFL starter.
A very good collegiate player, Penix projects as a high-floor backup to a lower-end starter at the next level. That earns a late Day 2 grade.
Rome Odunze, WR
A big-bodied receiver who is projected to be a workout warrior, Odunze’s on-field athleticism doesn’t quite match the supposed 4.34 40-yard dash he ran this spring. However, he doesn’t have to run that fast to be a very good prospect. Odunze is a technician despite being a 6’3″, 215-pound receiver, using his upper body to sell routes and then dominating at the catch point thanks to his huge catch radius.
His lack of separation isn’t a concern because he has top-notch concentration and fast-twitch reactions. The bulk of his big plays came on double moves or back-shoulder plays where Penix showed great faith in him. Overall, Odunze reminds me of Michael Thomas, who was an incredible producer despite sharing some of the same areas for improvement.
Odunze will be in the running for the second-best receiver in this class in the right offense. He’s not someone who is great after the catch, and he needs a trusting, daring quarterback who won’t be scared of tight windows. If he gets that, Odunze can be a very good NFL starter.
Jalen McMillan, WR
Able to play both in the slot and as an outside receiver due to his 6’0″, 200-pound frame, McMillan is a move-the-sticks glue guy who makes the right play at the right moment. He’s not overly twitchy or fast, but he has enough juice to create space and continue upfield for extra yards. McMillan is also a natural hands catcher who can contort his body for wayward passes.
He profiles as a solid role player at the next level but not someone who will define an offense or be more than a complementary piece. He has a Day 2 grade with the ability to help in Year 1.
Devin Culp, TE
At 6’3″ and 237 pounds, Devin Culp is on the watchlist for NFL evaluators. He’s only totaled 50 receptions for 503 yards and two scores across 23 games, but his ability to play in the slot and catch screen passes has created intrigue for what he can become in a bigger role.
Troy Fautanu, OT
Projected to be a guard at the next level, Troy Fautanu has excellent size for an interior blocker at 6’3″, 319 pounds. He’s a power blocker who hand-fights effectively and has a great initial strike that lands in the chest of defenders. His lack of length gets exposed at tackle but shouldn’t be nearly as much of an issue once he moves inside.
Fautanu’s not going to overwhelm anyone with his movement ability, so he has a late Day 2 grade as an interior blocker.
Bralen Trice, EDGE
A gigantic EDGE prospect who can either stand up or have his hand in the dirt, Trice makes every bit of his 270-pound frame be felt when he’s attacking blockers. He’s a true power end who can jar blockers back and then use an effective swim move that opens the corner for him to race around. Trice is also surprisingly comfortable and fluid when he drops into the flats as a zone defender.
Trice’s lack of speed isn’t surprising, given his frame, but it zaps his overall upside. He doesn’t have the lower-body flexibility to bend around corners, limiting him as a straight-line rusher who really has to rely on his strength. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Trice land at the end of the first round as a solid contributor for a team already possessing more of the creative type of talent.
Zion Tupuola-Fetui, EDGE
Despite inconsistent production and availability throughout his career, Zion Tupuola-Fetui has a skill set that jumps out on film. He’s a sudden mover who has fleet feet and a good burst off the line of scrimmage. His high level of activity in the passing lanes also helps as he chases batted passes to disrupt the offense.
He’ll have to stay durable again in 2023 after playing in 13 games last year. His quickness alone makes him a possible late-round draft pick and rotational rusher in the NFL.
Dominique Hampton, S
Entering his sixth season with the program, Dominique Hampton is one of the dwindling super-seniors left on rosters. Hampton came into his own more last season, producing a career-high 42 tackles and four pass breakups. At 6’2″ and 220 pounds, he stands out due to his great size.
He’s not been overly productive beyond tackles, but he’s impressively fast and capable of lining up against slot receivers and tight ends. He’s highly competitive at the catch point and as a tackler. Hampton is looking to earn a draftable grade this fall.
Washington Huskies Schedule
- Week 1
- Week 2
Sept. 2: vs. Boise State Broncos
- Week 3
Sept. 9: vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane
- Week 4
Sept. 16: at Michigan State Spartans
- Week 5
Sept. 23: vs. California Golden Bears
- Week 6
Sept. 30: at Arizona Wildcats
- Week 7
- Week 8
Oct. 14: vs. Oregon Ducks
- Week 9
Oct. 21: vs. Arizona State Sun Devils
- Week 10
Oct. 28: vs. at Stanford Cardinal
- Week 11
Nov. 4: at USC Trojans
- Week 12
Nov. 11: vs. Utah Utes
- Week 13
Nov. 18: vs. Oregon State Beavers
- Week 14
Nov. 25: vs. Washington State Cougars
- Week 15