Rome Odunze, WR
The top weapon for Penix and the Huskies in the receiving corps this season is the star redshirt junior receiver Odunze. Odunze is Penix's favorite target in the passing game, leading the team in targets (125) and receptions (82).
Odunze is probably the best receiver talent the Longhorns have faced this season. He led the PAC-12 in receiving yards (1,428) and touchdowns (15).
The 6-foot-3 and 200-pound stud receiver was arguably the deserving Biletnikoff Award winner this year. Instead, that award went to the Ohio State Buckeyes star Marvin Harrison Jr. But Odunze had more receiving yards and the same number of touchdowns while playing for a more explosive and productive passing attack than Harrison.
Odunze is a top-end athlete with track speed, great verticality, and body control. To put it simply, he's got early-round NFL Draft physical upside and first-round-level production at receiver.
He is a burner that easily creates separation over the top with his insane straight-line speed and quick acceleration off the line of scrimmage. Odunze clocked in around 21.2 seconds running the 200-meter dash in high school and was also among the state's best while he was attending Bishop Gorman High School in the shuttle.
Odunze is a gift for Penix to have to take the top off opposing defenses. He was tied for the highest-graded receiver on the deep ball this season. Penix looks to Odunze over the top multiple times per game. Odunze has 13 more deep receptions and nearly 100 more deep receiving yards than any other Power Five wideout this season.
The combination of size, verticality, and strong hands Odunze brings makes him a threat out in space and to bring down those tough contested 50-50 balls.
He is a big problem for every defense he's faced this season. Odunze has nine 100-receiving yard games this season. And all but one of the games he's played he had over 80 receiving yards.
Odunze is a slippery zone-buster with a large catch radius to take advantage of any possible window Penix has to get him the ball in space or on longer developing route concepts in the intermediate and deep passing game.
Man defense looks in coverage also present obvious issues when trying to contain a next-level threat like Odunze. He overwhelms most corners in coverage and Washington has too many other weapons in the receiving corps, which makes opposing defenses pay in coverage when they devote too many resources to shade Odunze.
The good news is that Texas had pretty good success last season limiting Oduze's production. Texas threw a mix of disguised zone and man and bracket coverage looks at Odunze and the Huskies passing attack. That kept Penix from being able to predict and dissect the Texas coverage through the air while giving the Longhorns enough resources to consistently keep Odunze from getting over the top and generating explosive plays.
I'd expect Texas to again throw a mix of disguised and bracket coverage looks at Odunze and the Huskies, as they can utilize their improved corner depth to match up better with his speed and keep him from generating explosive plays.