Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) throws a pass during the first half of a game against Washington State last Saturday in Pullman. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) throws a pass during the first half of a game against Washington State last Saturday in Pullman. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

Penix Jr. undecided on NFL draft, will play in UW’s bowl game

The standout redshirt junior quarterback leads the nation with 4,354 passing yards this season.

By Mike Vorel / The Seattle Times

Michael Penix Jr. has not played his last game at Washington.

Though UW’s redshirt junior quarterback — who leads the nation with 4,354 passing yards — has yet to decide if he’ll enter the 2023 NFL draft, he confirmed in a virtual news conference this week that he plans to play in the Huskies’ to-be-determined bowl game.

“I really haven’t had the opportunity to think about what I’m doing at the next level yet, whether I’m staying or going,” Penix said. “But as far as the bowl game, as far as right now, I’m definitely looking forward to playing with my team and being there for those guys. I definitely want to be there for those guys.”

When asked to clarify if the above answer represents a definite bowl commitment, Penix added: “Yessir, I’m looking forward to playing in it.”

Penix — a fifth-year junior and Indiana transfer — has yet to participate in a bowl game, with each of his previous four seasons ending early because of injuries. He completed 66% of his passes in 12 games this fall, contributing 33 total touchdowns (29 passing, four rushing) with seven interceptions.

No. 9 Washington (10-2) leads the nation not only in passing but first downs (27.4), third-down conversions (57.06%) and completions of 10 yards or more (182). The Huskies sit second in total offense (522.2 yards per game), behind only Tennessee (538.1).

Penix’s aerial theatrics will last at least one game longer.

“No, it never came up,” said UW offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb, when asked if they addressed Penix playing in a bowl game. “I’m not surprised at all. Mike’s a competitor, and he’s the ultimate teammate. I didn’t even feel like that was a discussion we needed to have, honestly.”

UW extends offensive coordinator Grubb

It appears Ryan Grubb isn’t going anywhere.

UW’s standout offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach agreed in early November to a two-year contract extension through 2025, a source confirmed to The Seattle Times on Tuesday. He is set to earn $1.45 million in 2023, $1.55 million in 2024 and $1.67 million in 2025.

Grubb will be the highest paid assistant in program history, topping former defensive coordinator (and eventual head coach) Jimmy Lake — who made $1.4 million in 2019. A Kingsley, Iowa, native and Buena Vista University alum, Grubb initially signed a two-year contract in December 2021 worth $1,020,000 annually. The performance incentives and buyout figures attached to his extension have not been disclosed.

“My initial emotional response to being here [last winter] was that this place could be unbelievably special, not knowing really anything about Washington,” Grubb said Monday, as his name crept onto the coaching carousel. “Now, going through a full year of it and seeing the support of the community and the kids that are in this program, this place is incredibly special. So I’m excited to be here.”

Under Grubb and coach Kalen DeBoer — whose own two-year extension, through 2028, was announced last week — UW ranked first in the nation in passing (376.7 yards per game), first downs (27.4 per game), third-down conversions (57.06%) and completions of 10 yards or more (182). The Huskies also finished second in total offense (522.2 yards per game) and fifth in scoring (40.8), nearly doubling their scoring average from 2021 (21.5).

In UW’s high-scoring system, Indiana transfer quarterback Michael Penix Jr. assumed the spotlight — leading the nation in passing yards (4,354) while completing 66% of his passes and totaling 33 touchdowns (29 passing, four rushing) and seven interceptions. The redshirt junior also smashed school records for single-game passing yards (516) and completions (36, twice) in his UW debut.

Sophomore wide receivers Rome Odunze (11 games, 70 catches, 1,088 yards, eight TDs) and Jalen McMillan (12 games, 71 catches, 1,040 yards, eight TDs), meanwhile, became the first Husky teammates to surpass 1,000 receiving yards in the same season.

When asked Monday what he’d tell another transfer quarterback considering UW, Penix — a Heisman Trophy hopeful — said: “I’d tell them we’re a team that definitely loves to put the ball in the air. We like to push the ball vertical, and coach Grubb is a great coach. He definitely is going to put you in positions to be successful as far as play calling, and obviously coach DeBoer as well.

“This is a coaching staff that you definitely want to play for. This coaching staff, they work extremely hard, and I don’t think there’s a coaching staff out there that will outwork this staff. This staff goes countless hours, making sure the game plan is what we want it to be and everybody understands their assignment and their job, so whenever it comes time to be on that field we execute at a high level.”

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