So far this year Washington has had every potential draftee with eligibility remaining announce their return for 2023. The lone player as of UW’s bowl game against Texas who hadn’t made a decision yet was WR Rome Odunze. Well that wait is now over as Odunze has announced on Twitter that he too will return for next season rather than enter the NFL Draft.
It was clear in the preseason that a breakout year may be coming for Odunze. He caught 41 balls for 415 yards and 4 TDs as a sophomore in 2021 but many of those came on little bubble screens where he was forced to break a tackle to gain any kind of yardage. With his size and athleticism combination and a competent offensive system/play caller it seemed the sky might be the limit for Odunze.
That came to pass in 2022 playing in Kalen Deboer’s offense with Michael Penix Jr. at quarterback. With the start of Pac-12 play Odunze went on a tear and had 8+ catches for 100+ receiving yards in 4 straight games. Despite missing the Portland State game Odunze still surpassed 1,000 yards on the season finishing with 75 catches for 1,145 yards and 7 TDs. That was good enough for him to be named 1st team all-Pac-12 after the year. Expect Odunze to get plenty of preseason All-American buzz over the next several months.
Washington now is expected to return essentially their entire receiving corps from this past year. We’ll see if there are eventual further entries into the transfer portal but as it currently stands the only players to catch a pass not returning are RB Wayne Taulapapa (24 for 225 yds), and WR Lonyatta Alexander (1 for 9 yds). The Huskies also are adding transfers WR Germie Bernard and TE Josh Cuevas plus true freshmen WRs Taeshaun Lyons (not yet officially signed), Rashid Williams, and Keith Reynolds.
Welcome back Rome and it’ll be a pleasure to get to see you for one more year in a Husky uniform!