Washington has its starting quarterback. UW head coach Kalen DeBoer announced Michael Penix Jr. as QB1 on Tuesday. But that means the three-man battle for the top spot now becomes a two-man competition for the No. 2 spot.

If the Huskies played a game right now, DeBoer told reporters that fourth-year sophomore Dylan Morris would be the primary backup for Penix. Sam Huard, a second-year quarterback for the Huskies, would be the No. 3.

Offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb met with reporters Tuesday as well and offered his thoughts on what separates the two players behind Penix.

“It’s close. Of all the three guys, the guy who made the biggest jump overall in camp was Sam,” Grubb said, according to The Seattle Times’ Mike Vorel. “There were some operational things and sacks and turnovers from the spring, where I thought Sam grew lightyears in that regard. Operationally, Dylan’s a guy that everybody trusts. He’s going to get up (to the line of scrimmage). He’s going to know exactly what to do, how to move somebody, change the protection. That’s where he’s just a little ahead of Sam.

“That’s a tight deal, though. Those guys were tooth and nail, all three of them. It says a lot about the room. Again, people are going to make their own decision on how tight it was or was not, and that’s fine. I feel comfortable with what those guys got done. I’m very happy with where the room’s at overall and what they got accomplished.”

Morris started 11 games last season for UW. He completed 61% of his throws for 2,458 yards and 14 touchdowns against 12 picks. Huard, a former 5-star recruit, took over for Morris in the Huskies’ Apple Cup loss. He went 17-for-31 passing for 190 yards and one touchdown, but also threw four interceptions.

Either could realistically see the field this season. Penix has yet to play more than six games in a season at the college level.

Season-ending ACL injuries claimed his 2018 and 2020 campaigns. In 2019, he hurt his right sternoclavicular joint (which also ended his season after six games). Last season, he dealt with an injury to the AC joint in his throwing shoulder and was limited to five games.

“The thing I also really want to make sure I say is, I know Husky Nation all knows D-Mo (Morris) and Sam and have seen them play. I can tell you that these two guys are different quarterbacks than what they know,” DeBoer said, per Vorel. “Those two guys are more than ready to play.”