The Washington Huskies have been blessed with some incredible quarterback play from Michael Penix Jr. over the last couple of years, but where does he rank among the all-time Huskies greats?

With the Huskies playing for a national title, this is a great time to look back over the top 10 quarterbacks in school history. From Hall of Famers to NCAA scandals, the University of Washington truly has seen it all.

Who is the starting quarterback for Washington in 2023?

The Washington Huskies are one of the four teams that reached this year’s College Football  Playoff, and their quarterback, Michael Penix Jr. is a big reason why. His 4,218 passing yards led the nation in 2023, and more success could be around the corner for this young man.

Penix looks set to jump to the pro game after this season, so it remains to be seen who will take over the No. 1 quarterback role for Washington in 2024.

Who are the Washington Huskies backup quarterbacks in 2023?

One player who might be on the verge of taking over from Michael Penix Jr. is Dylan Morris, although Morris will be entering his senior year. The Huskies might look to capitalize on their excellent season and bring in some exciting new talent through the transfer portal or recruiting.

If Morris ends up becoming the starter next year, he will be looking to improve on his only other season in that role. As a redshirt sophomore in 2021, Morris completed 60 percent of his passes for 2,458 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. The following year, Penix joined the team and Morris, who retains a year of eligibility, was relegated to the backup role.

History of Washington Quarterbacks

Washington’s football history is littered with talented quarterbacks. The Huskies have had their fair share of dual-threat stars, including Marques Tuiasosopo in the late 1990s and Jake Locker in the late 2000s. Warren Moon is the name that most football fans recognize when it comes to former UW quarterbacks. His years in Seattle provided the springboard for a glittering professional career that landed him in the Hall of Fame. Not surprisingly, you will find Moon in this top 10 list.

Active Washington Quarterbacks in the NFL

The most high-profile active Huskies quarterback in the NFL is Jake Browning of the Cincinnati Bengals. Up until two months ago, Browning was a relatively unknown name at the pro level. However, an injury to Bengals star QB Joe Burrow has thrust Browning into the limelight, and he is the key to the team’s remaining playoff hopes.

Browning became one of the more fascinating storylines of the 2023 NFL season by winning three straight starts in stellar fashion. A Dec, 23 loss at Pittsburgh was a setback, but the Bengals’ playoff chances are still alive. If he can get Cincinnati into the postseason, it could kick-start one of the NFL’s most successful careers for a former Washington Huskies quarterback.

Ranking the Top 10 Greatest Washington Huskies Quarterbacks of All Time

  1. Brock Huard

Seasons at Washington: 1996 to 1998

Brock Huard had the unusual privilege of taking over the starting role from his brother, Damon Huard. Admittedly, it wasn’t quite that smooth, since Huard initially lost a quarterback competition to Shane Fortney. It didn’t take long for him to see action, however, as the redshirt freshman brought the Huskies back from 21 points down to tie Arizona State in 1996. It was a fantastic effort from Huard, but one that would, unfortunately, end in a loss resulting from a last-minute Sun Devils field goal.

Huard took over the starting role a couple of games later, leading the team to an 8-1 record over the rest of the season. Thanks to his success, the Huskies entered 1997 as the nation’s fourth-ranked team. The season started well for Washington, but an ankle injury in Week 4 sidelined Huard for much of the season. It ended with a devastating 41-35 Apple Cup loss to Washington State – a game in which Huard threw three interceptions.

Huard’s final year at Washington saw him set school records, but he wasn’t able to help his team get above the .500 mark. After a year that included some embarrassing losses, Huard was selected by the hometown Seattle Seahawks in the third round of the 1999 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, his career never really took off at the pro level and came to an end in 2003 after he had thrown for only 689 total yards as an NFL quarterback.

  1. Billy Joe Hobert

Seasons at Washington: 1990 to 1992

Billy Joe Hobert’s Washington Huskies career is truly a story of highs and lows. As a redshirt sophomore, Hobert was thrust into the starting role after the team’s starter, Mark Brunell, suffered an injury. He thrived in that role, leading the Huskies all the way to the 1991 national championship.

Hobert threw for 2,271 yards and 22 touchdowns, while also rushing for five TDs during that remarkable 1991 season. He was named the MVP of the Rose Bowl to cap off one of the best seasons in Washington Huskies history.

Unfortunately, the lows that followed were very low. Just one year after leading the team to the championship, Hobert became implicated in an NCAA scandal involving loans he had received while attending UW. The story broke as the Huskies were storming out to an 8-0 record, but it all came crashing down after Hobert was suspended from the team. Washington finished the 1992 season at 9-3.

Despite the controversy, Hobert was selected in the third round of the 1993 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Raiders. He was never able to showcase his talent in the NFL, however, since he spent his entire career in backup roles and was out of the league by 2000.

  1. Keith Price

Seasons at Washington: 2010 to 2013

The start to Keith Price’s Washington career was quiet, as he redshirted his first year and spent his second as a backup. He more than made up for it, though, when he announced his arrival with a 315-yard, four-touchdown game against Hawaii in 2011. Price had a good year in that first season as UW’s starter, but he didn’t gain the respect he deserved until the season-ending Alamo Bowl game. In a 67-56 loss to Baylor, Price threw for 438 yards and four touchdowns, adding three more scores as a rusher.

Despite his team’s loss, Price’s incredible individual effort raised his national profile immensely. He finished the 2011 season with 3,063 passing yards and 33 touchdowns. Unfortunately, the two years that followed couldn’t live up to the excellence of that sophomore year. As a junior, he threw for 2,728 yards and 19 touchdowns, followed by 2,966 yards and 21 TDs as a senior.

Price ended his Huskies career with a total of 8,921 passing yards – the third-best mark in school history. He also threw for 75 touchdowns, which ranks second on the UW career list.

Despite his success at the college level, Price faced difficulties as a pro. He wasn’t chosen in the 2014 NFL Draft and then failed to find success in both the Canadian Football League and the Alliance of American Football.

  1. Sonny Sixkiller

Seasons at Washington: 1970 to 1972

Sonny Sixkiller was a highly talented, multi-sport athlete who was recommended to Huskies head coach Jim Owens by Sixkiller’s high school coach, Gene Willis. The recommendation, it turned out, was a good one.

Following a disappointing 1-9 season in 1969, the Huskies handed Sixkiller the starting role for the 1970 season. He helped the team to a big improvement, registering six wins. His talent was clear to see, as Sixkiller led the Pac-8 in passing attempts.

With Sixkiller at the helm, Washington was able to continue building on the momentum of it 6-4 season. The team posted back-to-back 8-3 records in 1971 and 1972, but the Huskies were unable to participate in postseason play due to conference rules at the time.

Sixkiller completed his Washington career with 5,496 passing yards, which still ranks ninth in school history. The fact that someone who played in the 1970s, when the college game looked very different, remains in UW’s all-time top 10 is a testament to Sixkiller’s abilities. He was a thrilling talent who helped turn around a formerly struggling Huskies team.

Unfortunately, Sixkiller wasn’t picked in the 1973 NFL Draft. He was given tryouts with the Los Angeles Rams and CFL’s Toronto Argonauts but was ultimately unable to transfer his talents to the pro game.

  1. Jake Locker

Seasons at Washington: 2007 to 2010

Jake Locker, a native of Ferndale, Wash., didn’t need long to earn a reputation as an exciting dual-threat quarterback. After redshirting his first year, Locker ran for two touchdowns in the Huskies’ 2007 season opener. This earned him the Freshman of the Week honor and quickly made him a fan favorite.

The Huskies were struggling at that time, but Locker provided a spark of hope. He passed for 2,062 yards and 14 touchdowns as a redshirt freshman while also rushing for 986 yards and 13 touchdowns. Despite his team’s 4-9 record, Locker’s efforts earned him the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year Award.

Injury greatly impeded Locker’s sophomore season, but by his junior year, he was able to pick up right where he left off -- passing for a career-high 2,800 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also rushed for 388 yards and seven TDs in 2009. It was an up-and-down season for the Huskies, but three weeks into that year, they managed to attain their first official Top 25 ranking (at No. 24) since 2003.

Locker recorded similar numbers as a senior, passing for 2,265 yards and 17 touchdowns, while also rushing for 332 yards and six more scores. His career passing totals of 7,639 yards and 53 touchdowns lands him inside UW’s all-time top five in both categories.

Locker was selected eighth overall by the Tennessee Titans in the 2011 NFL draft, but he struggled to prove that he could start at the NFL level, and his pro career was over after just four seasons.

  1. Mark Brunell

Seasons at Washington: 1989 to 1992

Mark Brunell joined the Huskies as part of a highly touted 1988 recruiting class. He did not play as a true freshman and didn’t get his first opportunity to really show what he could do until 1990. As a redshirt sophomore, Brunell started every game for the Huskies, and it quickly became clear that the Huskies had a talented dual-threat quarterback on their hands.

Brunell led Washington to an impressive 9-2 regular-season record in 1990, when the team lost only to UCLA and Colorado, the eventual national champion. The year was capped off by an incredible Rose Bowl victory over the Big Ten champion Iowa Hawkeyes. It only took three quarters for Washington to put up 39 points, and Brunell was named the game’s MVP.

In addition to their Rose Bowl success, the Huskies finished the year as Pac-10 champions with the No. 5 ranking in the AP Top 25. More success came in 1991, but it was mostly done without Brunell, who suffered a devastating knee injury that season. With Brunell sidelined, Billy Joe Hobert led the Huskies to the 1991 national championship. Brunell was only able to make a minor, late-season contribution to that team.

Brunell returned to the starting QB role in 1992 after Hobert was suspended from the team. Washington dropped from 12 wins in 1991 to nine in 1992, but the Huskies still managed to secure another Pac-10 championship. Brunell ended his college career with a total of 3,423 passing yards and 23 touchdowns, adding 678 yards and 19 touchdowns as a rusher. He was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 2015.

His success continued in the NFL. Drafted by the Packers, Brunell spent two seasons in Green Bay before a nine-year run in Jacksonville. With the Jaguars, he earned three Pro Bowl selections and led the NFL with 4,367 passing yards in 1996. Thirteen years later, he earned a championship ring as a backup QB on the New Orleans Saints team that won Super Bowl XLIV.

  1. Michael Penix Jr.

Seasons at Washington: 2022 to 2023

Michael Penix Jr.’s career with the Washington Huskies has been short but spectacular. After spending four seasons with the Indiana Hoosiers, Penix transferred to Washington for the final two years of his NCAA eligibility. The results have been remarkable.

Penix surpassed 4,000 passing yards and 30 touchdowns in each of his two seasons in Seattle. He hit the ground running by leading the Huskies to an 11-2 record in 2022. In that year’s Alamo Bowl, Penix established Washington’s single-season record for passing yards (4,641). He also led the FBS in passing that season – winning the Comeback Player of the Year Award and finishing eighth in the Heisman Trophy voting.

The Huskies went one better this season, registering an undefeated 13-0 record and making it into the College Football Playoff. Penix has thrown for a career-high 33 touchdowns against only nine interceptions in 2023 and enters the CFP with 4,218 yards. Unfortunately, Penix finished as the runner-up to Jayden Daniels for the 2023 Heisman Trophy, but his football future is certainly bright.

Heading into the College Football Playoff, Penix has thrown for 8,859 yards and 64 touchdowns at Washington. Both of those career marks are the third-best in school history, which is an outstanding achievement for someone who only played two seasons. It remains to be seen how Washington will fare in the CFP, but what will surely be a successful NFL career already awaits Penix.

  1. Marques Tuiasosopo

Seasons at Washington: 1997 to 2000

Marques Tuiasosopo is a true favorite with Huskies fans. His dual-threat capabilities led to many Washington victories, but he had to wait his turn before getting a chance to show what he could do. As a freshman and sophomore, Tuiasosopo was resigned to second-string duties, although he did become the first true freshman to ever start a game for the Huskies.

He passed for 261 yards and rushed for 95 more in that college debut, making sure that everyone knew the Huskies had an exciting talent waiting in the wings. His chance to be the team’s starter came as a junior in 1999, and he was electric. With 509 yards of total offense against Stanford on Oct. 30, 1999, Tuiasosopo became the first player in college football history to pass for 300 yards and run for 200 in the same game.

As a senior in 2000, Tuiasosopo led the Huskies to a Pac-10 title and Rose Bowl victory. Named the Rose Bowl MVP, he was one of the primary reasons the Huskies finished No. 3 in that year’s national rankings. For his efforts, he was named the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year.

After his college career, Tuiasosopo was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the 2001 NFL Draft. He never managed to get beyond a backup QB role in the NFL. Following his exit from the league in 2008, he turned his attention to coaching. He remains part of college football as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Rice University in Houston.

  1. Jake Browning

Seasons at Washington: 2015 to 2018

Jake Browning got off to a good start at the University of Washington and proved his reliability by starting all 12 games in his freshman year. However, he really made a name for himself as a sophomore, when he threw for 3,430 yards and an incredible 43 touchdowns. His 43 TD passes in 2016 remain UW’s single-season record – a full 10 ahead of Keith Price in second place.

The 2016 season was an incredible year for Browning. In addition to setting school records, he was recognized as a First Team All-Pac-12 player and was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year. He also finished sixth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy. Unfortunately, Browning couldn’t help his team achieve success in the College Football Playoff, where the Huskies fell to Alabama in the semifinals.

The highs of 2016 could not repeated over Browning’s remaining two college seasons, although he did continue to play well. He finished his Huskies career with 12,296 passing yards and 94 touchdowns, which are both school records.

Browning wasn’t picked in the 2019 NFL Draft, and he bounced around NFL practice squads before signing with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2023. He beat out Trevor Siemian for the backup job before being called upon to take over in relief of Joe Burrow, who suffered a season-ending wrist injury in Week 11.

After a rough couple of games, Browning has played some excellent football for Cincinnati, leading the Bengals to a run of three straight wins that kept their playoff hopes alive.

  1. Warren Moon

Seasons at Washington: 1975 to 1977

Warren Moon’s journey to becoming one of the Washington Huskies' most celebrated quarterbacks started after he piqued the interest of offensive coordinator Dick Scesniak, who saw things in Moon that others overlooked. Scesniak was proven right after the young quarterback led the Huskies to a Pac-8 title as a senior.

His first two seasons generated as many losses as wins (the team went 11-11 over that period) before the breakthrough 1977 season that saw Washington go 8-4 and claim its first Pac-8 title in 14 years. That year also secured Moon’s place in the history books, as the team leader capped off his 1977 season with an incredible performance to help UW upset Michigan 27-20 in the Rose Bowl. Moon was named the game’s MVP after rushing for two touchdowns and throwing a 28-yard TD pass.

Over the course of the 1977 season, Moon proved himself to be an elite difference-maker and was ultimately recognized as the Pac-8 Co-Player of the Year. Despite all this success, there were doubts about his NFL potential, and he was not drafted in 1978. He went on to sign with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League and helped Edmonton win five straight Grey Cup championships before opting to enter the NFL with the Houston Oilers in 1984.

What followed was a glittering NFL career in which Moon threw for more than 49,000 yards with 291 TD passes. He made nine trips to the Pro Bowl, was named the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year in 1990, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

Parameters of Rankings

These Washington Huskies quarterbacks have been ranked based on their success as members of the UW program. Hall of Fame careers and success in the NFL have been mentioned to respect each player’s journey, but these factors did not impact the final rankings.


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