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16 Cougars and Huskies named to Senior Bowl watch list

by IAN BIVONA
Sports Reporter | August 25, 2023 1:05 AM

MOBILE, Ala. – Sixteen Cougars and Huskies were named to the 2023 Reese’s Senior Bowl watch list, a highly-touted college football all-star game hosted at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama in early February.

Washington had 10 players named to the list, while Washington State had six.

Both WSU and UW’s starting quarterbacks made the watch list, with Cougar quarterback Cameron Ward and Huskie quarterback Michael Penix Jr. representing their respective teams. Ward threw for 3,231 yards and 23 touchdowns in his first season in Pullman after transferring from Incarnate Word last off-season, while Penix had the second-most passing yards in the country with 4,641 and 31 touchdowns.

Both schools also have a running back on the list, with Dillon Johnson – a transfer from Mississippi State – representing UW and Nakia Watson representing WSU. Johnson averaged 5.5 yards per carry with the Bulldogs in 2022, while also catching 48 passes for 285 yards. Watson transferred to WSU after the 2020 season and started all 11 games he appeared in, amassing 769 rushing yards and nine touchdowns and 295 yards and four scores off 30 receptions.

Husky receivers Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan were added to the watch list, both of whom are coming off 1,000-yard receiving seasons. Odunze hauled in 75 receptions for 1,145 yards and seven scores, and McMillan caught 79 passes for 1,098 yards and nine touchdowns last season.

UW and WSU were also well-represented in the front seven on both sides of the ball, with six players being named to the Senior Bowl watch list between the two programs. Defensive linemen Brennan Jackson and Ron Stone Jr. represented Washington State on the list, while Washington offensive lineman Troy Fautanu, defensive lineman Bralen Trice, defensive lineman Zion Tupuola-Fetui and linebacker Edefuan Ulofoshio all being named to the list.

Three Cougar and Huskie defensive backs were also named to the list; WSU’s Chau Smith-Wade and Sam Lockett III and UW’s Jabbar Muhammad.

On top of the 16 Cougars and Huskies, Pac-12 schools had 79 additional players named to the Senior Bowl watch list; Oregon led the way with 17, followed by USC with 14, Oregon State with 11 and Utah with 10. Cal and Arizona had six players named to the watch list, and Arizona State had five. Rounding out the Pac-12 was UCLA with four players and Stanford with one.

Players selected for the game are eligible based on being a true four-year player, meaning they’ve played in five or more games in the past three seasons, or by being a 2019 high school graduate. Toward the end of the season, many true or redshirt juniors could become eligible as December 2023 graduates.

Ian Bivona may be reached at ibivona@columbiabasinherald.com. A resident of Soap Lake, he enjoys football and video games.

photo

AP PHOTO/ANDY MANIS

WSU defensive lineman Ron Stone Jr. (10) was one of six Cougars to be named to the Reese’s Senior Bowl watch list on Wednesday.