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Michael Penix, Jr.-UW's Lead Dog


Michael Penix Jr.-Washington football helmet on a bench
Image Credit: Facebook

He grew up, fast, while living in Florida. The son of a coach, he learned the game of football from his dad-how to be a leader of men on the gridiron and to make his teammates around him better.

The position of quarterback came easy to Michael Penix, Jr. He was a natural. And that was as a middle schooler. Roy Hobbs had nothing on this kid.




Michael Penix Made it Look Easy


By the time he got to Pasco High School, however, there were some obstacles that prevented Penix from reaching his full potential. One of the coach’s sons was the quarterback. Then in a flash of dense brain fog, the team decided to switch to an offensive scheme that was popular when Harry S. Truman was President-the Wing T offense. This offense features various option football rushing tactics, and did not play well into his strengths as a passer.


Penix was not a running quarterback. He was a traditional pocket passer. Michael despised scrambling from the pocket preferring to drop back and make you look foolish and pick you apart with laser accuracy.


A change of scenery was needed. After some strategic phone calls were made and conversations had in one of the biggest recruiting hotbeds in the country, Michael ended up at Tampa Bay Technical High School. Of course, he turned heads at his very first practice. Penix had a howitzer for a passing arm, and off-the-charts accuracy that coaches covet.


Penix immediately became the starter under center.


While most high school kids would talk about their favorite video game, cruising the main drag on a Friday night, or chasing girls, Michael Penix waxed poetically about coverages, reads, and progressions. Respectfully, he would have been the death of the party. But his football IQ and work ethic were straight out of the Book of Manning.


Michael Penix threw his first interception only after he tossed 22 touchdown passes. Then he only threw five more picks in his 2-year high school career as a starter, passing for over 4200 yards.




 

A Loyalty Betrayed


Penix was recruited heavily by Tennessee and he held firm on his commitment to the Vols, even when Butch Jones was let go. But his loyalty to Tennessee was betrayed by new head coach Jeremy Pruitt and his scholarship offer was rescinded.



But another Power 5 school entered the mix for Penix’s services-Indiana. The quarterback coach on Tom Allen’s Hoosier staff had been at Tennessee previously and had a long-standing relationship with Penix.

So, when Allen came to visit the Penix household on an in-home visit, he did not come alone. Allen brought his entire coaching staff with him. That kind of sales pitch would have made Dale Carnegie proud. Penix signed with Indiana.


But as fate would have it, Penix had an injury-plagued career at Indiana. He did manage to earn 2nd team All-Big Ten honors in the COVID season of 2020. When Kalen DeBoer, his offensive coordinator/QB coach left for Fresno State, before eventually becoming the head coach of the Washington Huskies, Michael Penix decided to follow him to the Pacific Northwest.


 

Michael Penix Jr., and the 2022 Season at Washington


Penix led the Huskies to an 11-2 season last year and leads an offense in 2023 that returns 7 starters. That offense ranked:

· #2 in total offense at 516 yards per game.

· #1 in passing offense at 369 yards per game.

· #7 in scoring offense at 39 points per game.


Washington won 7 consecutive games to finish the season. During that same stretch, Penix threw 15 TDs and only 4 INTs. As the #1 passer in the FBS (357 yards/game), Penix threw for 4641 yards, 31 TDs, compared to only 8 INTs, while completing 65.3% of his passes. Penix added four rushing touchdowns, showing off his strength in the red area.



Michael posted eight straight games of over 300 yards passing, including 516 yards and 4 TDs in a 49-39 win over Arizona. And he threw zero interceptions in the game while completing a phenomenal 81% of his passes.


Huskie fans were rejoicing in their London Fog raincoats in the cold and wet streets of Seattle when Penix decided to return to Washington for his senior season.


A good reason for that is Penix will have his two 1000-yard receivers back to run post-routes-Rome Odunze (75 catches, 1145 yards, 7 TDs) and Jalen McMillan (79 catches, 1098 yards, 9 TDs). In addition, Penix has other options as well in WR Ja’Lynn Polk (41 catches, 694 yards, 6 TDs) and TE Devin Culp (29 catches, 266 yards, 1 TD).


Penix will lead the Huskies into the L.A. Coliseum on November 4th in a highly-anticipated matchup to take on the reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams and the USC Trojans. Remember those two because their names will be called on Day 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft.


Michael Penix, Jr., the son of a football coach. A young man who plays the most important position on the field like da Vinci, painting broad strokes with a flick of his wrist. And the end result every Saturday in the fall is a masterpiece.

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