The 2024 Sugar Bowl is in the books. Washington knocked off Texas in a thriller, 37-31. They will go on to play Michigan next Monday in the CFP National Championship Game.
These rosters are loaded with future NFL talent on both sides of the ball. Let’s look at how they played in the 2024 Sugar Bowl.
2024 Sugar Bowl Prospect Review
Quinn Ewers did everything he could to try to lead Texas back in the fourth quarter. Ultimately, he would come up about 12 yards short. Ewers is expected to return to Texas next season. Against the Huskies, he completed 24/43 passes for 318 yards and one score. Ewers also ran for 54 yards.
Brock Bowers is the clear-cut #1 TE in the ’24 class. However, there isn’t a lock for the #2 spot. Longhorns’ TE Ja’Tavion Sanders possesses the athleticism, hands, and YAC ability to be that guy. He isn’t a top-notch blocker but that could be developed. Against UW, Sanders caught six balls for 75 yards.
The Texas trifecta of WRs each came up huge in the semifinal matchup.
Potential first-round pick Xavier Worthy only had one big play of note. However, his blend of speed and ability to separate is going to go a long way for his draft stock.
Former UGA WR Adonai Mitchell is a potential redzone nightmare at the next level. He can highpoint the ball so well, has great size, and has strong hands. Mitchell was targeted 13 times, catching four. He had 32 yards and a tremendous TD catch.
Jordan Whittington is going to make an NFL roster on special teams ability alone. But don’t sleep on his ability to complete a WR room. Whittington caught four balls for 70 yards, including a huge catch and run on the final drive. He will be at the Senior Bowl.
The Washington running game never really got going at all. This was in large part thanks to the Longhorns’ massive interior defensive line. Of course, this means nose tackle T’Vondre Sweat and Byron Murphy II. Sweat is a hole clogger through and through. Murphy has more pass-rush ability and disruption to his game. He also is a tremendous athlete, scoring a rushing TD in the game. Both players will be at the Senior Bowl.
Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. played out of his mind against Texas. Penix has elite arm talent and accuracy. He moves the pocket well and can occasionally make plays with his feet. Age (24) and injury history (multiple knee surgeries) are the only negatives. Although those are concerning. But when you can make plays like this…
Penix Jr. drops ANOTHER dime to Odunze down the sideline ? pic.twitter.com/LuSPPtg8jf
— Justin M (@JustinM_NFL) January 2, 2024
I can’t get enough of this throw, best one of the night and that’s saying something. Michael Penix Jr. is having himself a night against this tough Texas defense. pic.twitter.com/kHb46PuvG5
— Andrew Harbaugh (@AHarbaugh_) January 2, 2024
— Travis May (@FF_TravisM) January 2, 2024
It is going to be hard to keep him out of round one. Penix is going to land with a playoff team that is a QB away from contending for a Super Bowl and make that team look like geniuses. Against Texas, he completed 29/38 passing, accounted for 461 yards of offense, and two scores.
The main target (as you can see above) for Penix is WR Rome Odunze. Odunze is one of my favorite players in this draft class. His ball tracking, hands, and speed are tremendous. Odunze caught all six of his targets for 125 yards. I believe he should be selected in the 10-15 range of round one.
His running mate Jalen McMillan has missed some time this season but should hear his name called on day two. McMillan can make plays at all levels of the field. The other WR, Ja’Lynn Polk is more of the same. Polk also could be a day two selection. The two combined for 10 catches, 180 yards, and two scores.
I was taken aback by how well 6th-year TE Jack Westover worked as a security blanket for Penix. He does a lot of dirty work and makes some tough catches. Westover caught six balls for 59 yards. I wouldn’t be surprised if he went on day three.
Washington OT Troy Fautanu could sneak into the first round. At worst, he is going early in the second. Fautanu is a load mover in the run game and a technician as a pass blocker.
Look at the push generated here by Washington LT Troy Fautanu (55). Key conversion on 4th down.
One of the best OL prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft, even if a move to G is in his future. pic.twitter.com/HKYZQaKCrm
— Justin M (@JustinM_NFL) January 2, 2024
Huskies’ edge rusher Bralen Trice terrorized Texas OT Christian Jones. He sacked Quinn Ewers twice with even more disruption. Trice has a shot at going later in round one.
LB Edufuan Ulofoshio was very active on Monday night. Ulofoshio made several plays in the backfield and showed off great range. He finished with seven tackles and two TFLs. Ulofoshio will be in Mobile later in the month.
WRAP IT UP
Shane P Hallam and I will summarize the top prospect performances from the 2024 CFP National Championship Game between Michigan and Washington.