Washington feels like it can challenge for a national championship in 2023, and at the core of that belief is the knowledge it has one of the best quarterbacks in the country.

Michael Penix Jr. will be back next season after leading all of the FBS in passing yards in 2022. He was a player who many felt should have garnered more Heisman buzz last fall for his play, but he won’t be under the radar entering next year. Penix is tied with Oregon’s Bo Nix and Florida State’s Jordan Travis for the third-best preseason Heisman odds of any player, according to FanDuel.

Penix is currently +1200 to win the 2023 Heisman. As we’ve seen in recent years, where you open the season plays a huge part in how you’re viewed during the season.

The talented lefty came out of nowhere this past fall, and though he numbers were phenomenal, he had too much ground to make up with USC’s Caleb Williams also playing excellent ball.

Williams claimed the 2022 trophy, USC’s eighth winner all-time, and he leads the way (+400) for FanDuel in mid-January.

Penix threw for 4,641 yards and 31 touchdowns in 2022 as the Huskies ripped through an unsuspecting schedule to reach 11 wins in coach Kalen DeBoer’s first season. In his first year in the Pac-12, the former Indiana man produced the fifth-best passing season in conference history.

And next season, he’ll have both of his favorite targets back. Wideouts Jalen McMillan and Rome Odunze are both returning after becoming the first teammates in UW history to post 1,000-yard receiving seasons in the same year.

“I think we’re going to win a natty (next season),” McMillan said after Huskies’ win over Texas in the Alamo Bowl. “I’m going to call for a natty.”

If Penix is in the hunt for the Heisman, that would stand to mean good things for UW’s title hopes.