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Heisman Watch: Michael Penix Jr. in Prime Position to Win

Michael Penix Heisman

(Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)

It appears that the Heisman Trophy race will come down to Oregon’s Bo Nix, LSU’s Jaden Daniels and Michael Penix. Many have stated that the decision will come down to the results of the Pac-12 Championship Game. Which very well, could be what the race comes down to.

Penix has the Huskies in prime position to make the College Football Playoff. The team remains undefeated mainly due to over-the top, sidearm and soft lob forward pass of Penix. He’s the first serious Heisman candidate to come out of Washington since Steve Emtman. Even though he finished fourth, he never really stood the chance to bring home the award like Penix does. The Heisman Trophy is typically given to a quarterback, running back, receiver or defensive back. Its extremely difficult for a lineman to award.

It’s quite possible that Washington Huskies could go undefeated in the regular season. They’ve beaten some tough opponents in Oregon, USC, Oregon State and Utah. All of which were ranked at the time that Washington beat them. The UW quarterback has an exemplary 20-2 record over two seasons, which includes a 16-game winning streak, second only to Georgia’s 25 in a row. Those are both impressive stretches.

Penix leads the nation in passing yards. He’s No. 6 in QBR (85.0), tied for No. 3 in touchdowns (30). Heisman Candidate, Michael Penix leads one of the best offenses in the nation. The three biggest qualities that Penix possesses are his passing ability, leadership and composure.

Passing Ability:

The passing attack — which Penix has executed flawlessly at times — has been electric all season. The Huskies average 358.4 passing yards per game. Penix has been making impressive throws all season. He’s excelled in all of the stable metrics of quarterback play.

Michael Penix (2023)
Percentile rank 

Clean-pocket grade92.793rd
Standard dropback grade 92.1 94th
Grade on first and second down 91.6 94th
No play action84.679th
Grade on throws at or beyond the sticks93.990th

Composure Under Pressure:

The Huskies play-caller is potentially the most composed QB in the nation with the game in balance. Though, he doesn’t run as much as Nix or Daniels, he still ranks near the top of the pressure-to-sack ratio due to excellent pocket manipulation. The main reason he doesn’t run as much as other QB’s is due to his multiple ACL tears. Penix is lethal and will carve up secondaries if his offensive line allows him to work.


This Washington team will go as far as Penix can take them. He’s a natural leader who his teammates look up to. His leadership qualities were on full display in the game against Oregon. He was pressured 16 times and took more hits than he had all season. Towards the end of the game, you could tell he was in pain but he never got rattled.

He finished 22-of-37 for 302 yards, four touchdowns, five big-time throws and no turnover-worthy plays. He kept getting back up, showing poise to deliver strike after strike. That’s what it takes to be a Heisman.

Current Odds:

All betting odds are based on BetMGM.


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