Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr., Minnesota running back Mohamed Ibrahim and UCLA linebacker Laiatu Latu were named college football’s comeback players of the year on Tuesday.
Penix transferred to Washington after four seasons at Indiana, each ending with a serious injury.
With the Huskies, Penix played all 12 games and heads into the postseason leading the nation with 363 yards passing per game. Washington (10-2) will face Texas (8-4) in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29.
Ibrahim played only one game in 2021, rupturing his left Achilles tendon in the opener against Ohio State. He returned in 2022 to lead the Big Ten in rushing at 145 yards per game. He ranks second in the nation heading into the Pinstripe Bowl, where Minnesota (8-4) will face Syracuse (7-5) on Dec. 29.
Latu suffered a neck injury during preseason practice in 2020 when he was at Washington and needed surgery to led to a medical retirement.
Hoping to play again, he transferred to UCLA in 2022 and went through spring practice in noncontact drills. He became one of the top pass rushers in the Pac-12 this season, with 9 1/2 sacks and three forced fumbles.
UCLA (9-3) faces Pitt (8-4) in the Sun Bowl on Dec. 30.
Previous winners of the comeback player of the year award include Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson in 2021 and Oregon State quarterback Jake Luton in 2019.
The comeback player of the year is presented by College Sports Communicators in association with the Fiesta Bowl. Winners are chosen by AP Top 25 voters, sports information directors and Fiesta Bowl Organization representatives.
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