Dante Pettis — a senior at University of Washington and Husky wide receiver — quickly tied and broke the six return PAC-12 record for career punt returns for a touchdown, as well as the NCAA record. This all went down Nov. 4 in a historic game against the rivaled University of Oregon State.
Pettis is no stranger to awards and records. He’s racked up quite the impressive resume — including the 2016 Second-Team All-Pac-12, 2015’s Sporting News Second-Team All-America punt returner and 2015’s Second-Team Academic All-Pac-12.
Pettis made waves last year when he started gaining on Antonio Perkins and Wes Welker, who both held the record at eight returns for a touchdown. With a total of five punt returns last season (making up 1,258 career punt return yards!), Dawg fans were ready and excited to cheer Pettis on to make history. He has made four returns this season alone and still has plenty of time left to boost his number, making his place in history even more secure.
Pettis’ biggest stand out moment so far this season was his 64-yard return against UW’s biggest out of state rival: the Oregon Ducks. Husky fans stood in awe as Pettis sprinted over half the field, not only to break a massive record but also to demolish the Ducks. This was definitely a moment all Husky fans and football enthusiasts will remember.
Once the record was broken, Pettis celebrated with a homage to his father, Gary Pettis, who is a third base coach for the Houston Astros. Gary is known for “waving home” players. Dante Pettis in turn joined in on the wave, all while being praised by his team.
After the historic play, a Husky football collectable poster was rolled out for fans to see and pick up. Pettis responded with a shy smile and acknowledged the crowd humbly.
Anyone who has watched a Husky game this season is expecting big things in his future: top NFL draft picks, teams familiar with the Super Bowl and more. There is some concern about his small frame, which may have led to double catching the ball (when you catch but you have to reposition so the ball is secure, which eats up time). Nevertheless, scouts would be crazy if they didn’t acknowledge his speed, smarts and ability to make big plays.
The Huskies have a phenomenal team this year — with two Heisman Trophy likelies (Myles Gaskin and Jake Browning) and Pettis breaking records, we’ve had a knockout year. But whether we’re expected to win or not, if there’s anything better than beating the Ducks 38 to 3, it’s seeing a fellow Husky make history while doing it.