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Washington star receiver Rome Odunze and running back Dillon Johnson are declaring for the NFL Draft after prolific seasons, the pair told ESPN, with Odunze's departure in particular signifying both a tremendous loss for the Huskies and a highly desired prospect for the next level. Odunze is expected to be one of the first receivers off the board in April after playing a key role in Washington's emergence as a national power under coach Kalen DeBoer.

Though listed as a senior on Washinton's roster, Odunze could have returned for a fifth season because of the extra year of eligibility provided by the COVID-19 pandemic. As Odunze shredded opposing defenses throughout the 2023 season, it became increasingly apparent that he likely has a bright professional future.

Odunze earned first-team All-America honors in 2023 and was a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award. His 92 receptions for 1,640 yards with 13 touchdowns made him the top target of Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. The Huskies' pass offense ranked No. 1 nationally while fueling the team's run to a Pac-12 championship and College Football Playoff National Championship appearance.

He is just the second player in Washington history to end his career with multiple 1,000-yard campaigns after he racked up 1,145 yards on 75 receptions in 2022.

Johnson, a productive Mississippi State transfer, bloomed into one of Washington's late-season stars, highlighted by a career-best 256 yards and four touchdowns against USC. Though knee and nagging foot injuries rendered him largely ineffective at season's end, Johnson showed willingness to play through the limitations and pain to end with a team-best 1,195 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns. He is not listed in CBS Sports' Prospect Rankings. 

Odunze's draft stock

Odunze is considered the No. 7 overall prospect and No. 2 receiver in the 2024 CBS Sports NFL Draft Prospect Rankings. The only receiver ranked above him is former Ohio State star Marvin Harrison Jr., who also announced this week that he is declaring for the NFL Draft.

In the most-recent mock drafts from CBS Sports NFL Draft experts Ryan Wilson and Chris Trapasso, Odunze was a unanimous top-15 pick. Wilson projected him at No. 12 to the Denver Broncos, while Trapasso projected Odunze at No. 14 to the New Orleans Saints.

"I'm of the belief the Saints desperately need more weapons on offense," Trapasso wrote. "Odunze has an alpha mentality on the perimeter and the skill set to back it up."

Impact on Washington

Odunze's departure is no surprise. There was nothing left for him to prove at the collegiate level after playing four seasons and serving a key role in Washington's resurrection the past two seasons. Still, both decisions underscore just how much change the Huskies will undergo offensively as the program enters the Big Ten in 2024.

With Penix out of eligibility and fellow star receivers Ja'Lynn Polk and Jalen McMillan also declaring for the NFL Draft, it will be a new cast of characters leading Washington's offense. Offensive lineman Troy Fautanu also announced his decision to enter the draft following the Huskies' loss to Michigan in the CFP National Championship, and star tight end Jack Westover is out of eligibility.

Though former Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers and ex-Cal receiver Jeremiah Hunter are big-time transfer additions, there is no escaping that 2024 will be a rebuilding year for the program.