Michael Penix Jr. Makes Push to be Top Draft Pick After Dominant Sugar Bowl Performance

Saturday’s College Football Playoff was all about Michael Penix Jr.

The Washington quarterback, a sixth-year senior due to an injury-riddled stint at the University of Indiana from 2018-2021, shined in Monday night’s Sugar Bowl Semi-Final en route to earning his Huskies a berth in the 2023-24 CFP National Championship Game.

What his performance also did is improve his odds to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. He now has the fifth-shortest odds to be selected first according to FanDuel Sportsbook:

Odds to be No. 1 Overall Pick in 2024 NFL Draft

Caleb Williams                         -500

Drake Maye                              +400

Marvin Harrison Jr.              +1500

Jayden Daniels                     +3500

Michael Penix Jr.                  +6000

Penix completed 29 of his 38 pass attempts for 430 yards and two touchdowns in Washington’s 37-31 win over Texas and registered an 87.7 quarterback rating, a season-high.

“The guy was on a mission,” Huskies head coach Kalen DeBoer said of his quarterback’s performance on Monday night. “He was on a mission. The last month, just since the PAC-12 championship, realizing that it’s right there in front of us. Right there in front of him. Maybe even being No. 2 in the whole [Heisman] voting thing and some of that put a chip on his shoulder too.”

Penix finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting last month to LSU Jayden Daniels, who has +3500 odds to be the No. 1 pick at FanDuel. Daniels’ LSU Tigers, without him at the helm as he already opted out for the NFL Draft, won the ReliaQuest Bowl on Monday afternoon.

“It wasn’t pretty,” Penix said of his reaction to watching his team’s defense hold Texas at the end of Monday night’s victory. “The defense, they hold themselves to a high standard and they hold themselves accountable in every situation. They wouldn’t have wanted it to be that close, but as a whole team, on the sideline, just everybody believing, everybody just trusting that they were going to come up with that big-time stop. They’ve done it all throughout the year.”

As mentioned above, Penix’s path to the doorstep of a national title has been an up-and-down one. During his first college football stop with the Indiana Hoosiers, he tore his ACL twice and also suffered a collarbone injury. He never finished a season before transferring to Washington prior to last season.

“First of all imma say I’m not no quitter,” Penix said when asked about his journey and the thought of quitting football. “I wouldn’t say I was going to quit. It did get hard for me at times but I had to lean on the ones that I love the most. But it means a lot to be here. I’m super blessed and I’ve got to thank the man above. I’ve got to thank God for everything that he’s put me through to get to this point. It’s been a blessing and I’ve been enjoying the journey.”

He now has the chance to not only be a National Champion, but a first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Make sure to follow Mike on Twitter @mikekadlick and head to FanDuel, America’s Number One Sportsbook, for all of your sports wagering.

Mike Kadlick

Mike is a Patriots reporter with experience in radio, podcasting, and writing. Follow him on Twitter @mikekadlick.

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