Washington Huskies QB Michael Penix Jr. has taken the college football world by storm over the last two seasons, vaulting his name into the Heisman conversation. Penix’s play has many wondering about his NFL Draft potential down the line as well. However, he was not always at Washington — it was a long and hard-fought road for him to get to where he is now.
Penix originally played for the University of Indiana. In fact, he actually graduated from Indiana and was part of the Hoosiers’ 2018 recruiting class. How and why did Michael Penix Jr. transfer?
Michael Penix Jr.’s Hoosier Days
Penix was part of Indiana’s recruiting class of 2018 as the 21st-ranked pro-style quarterback recruit in the country. He joined other Hoosiers who have already made it into the NFL, such as Jamar Johnson, Micah McFadden, and Jaylin Williams.
Penix played in three games as a freshman before a torn ACL cut his season short. He rebounded to earn the starting job as a sophomore the following season, but he had that season end with another injury as well, with an SC joint sidelining him for the last six games of that season.
He came back to help lead Indiana to a 5-1 record in 2020 before tearing the same ACL he tore as a freshman. As a senior the following year, Penix was hurt again, separating his shoulder and suffering an AC joint injury early in the year.
Penix spoke about wanting a fresh start when he entered the transfer portal following the 2021 season. In an interview with Hoosiers Now, a Sports Illustrated affiliate, he spoke about his decision to transfer:
“Look, I’m a Hoosier, and I’ll always be a Hoosier. I’m graduating in May, and I have loved everything about playing for Coach Allen and being a part of this team. These are my brothers. But I just want a new start — a new beginning. I want to finish my college career the best way possible, and I think I need to do that somewhere else.”
Hoosier to Husky
Penix quickly turned his attention to the Washington Huskies. His former offensive coordinator at Indiana, Kalen DeBoer, was taking the head coaching job, and the two had already built a strong rapport with each other in Bloomington, so it was a seamless fit.
Penix has found his stride in a Washington uniform. Penix and DeBoer led Washington to an 11-2 record in 2022, with Penix passing for 4,641 yards and 31 touchdowns with just eight interceptions. 2023 has been an even faster start, as the QB has thrown for almost 1,400 yards and 12 touchdowns in just his first three games.
While he struggled with injuries for years at Indiana, which caused his departure from a program he still holds in high regard, he’s now fully healthy and confident and is taking college football by storm. In fact, he has the Huskies eyeing a CFP playoff berth. It’s likely that Penix has an exciting NFL future ahead of him as well, but his goal for now is winning as a Washington Husky.
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