Michael Penix Jr. tells GMs what to expect of him: perseverance

League: NFL

Posted on: 22 Apr, 2024 at 06:10 PM

Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Penix Jr.'s injury history makes him a wild card in this week's NFL Draft, and the quarterback took to The Players' Tribune on Monday to try to sell general managers on selecting him.

"4 season-ending injuries in 4 years, Mike. How do I reconcile that?"

That's how he started his first-person essay, letting GMs know that he knows a question they'd love to ask him.

He discussed his humble upbringing in Dade City, Fla., how "nothing is handed to you, you have to earn everything. If you fall -- you get up. Simply put."

Penix began his college career at Indiana, relaying in his writing how two weeks before he was scheduled to sign with a Southeastern Conference team, he was told the team had a change of heart and had yanked his scholarship offer.

He wound up at Indiana at the last minute.

"IU had 10 straight losing seasons when I got to Bloomington, one winning season since 1994. I knew what I was walking into, but I felt I could help turn the program around," Penix said. "In 2020 we became the 7th-ranked team in the country, the highest ranking the program has had since 1967."

But the experience wasn't all smiles.

"Even with that success, I experienced a lot there. From lighting up practice to watching practice on crutches. From getting a shout out from LeBron (James) to being booed in my own stadium. From 4th quarter comebacks to entering the transfer portal waiting for somebody to call. Indiana taught me to never take this game for granted. It also taught me that if I fall, I wouldn't bet against me getting up."

And that was the point Penix, who turns 24 on May 8, was trying to make. He has gotten up over and over again, especially with injuries.

He wound up transferring to Washington, a 4-8 program when he signed before the 2022 season. He took the Huskies to the College Football Playoff national title game this year, which Washington lost to Michigan. His two seasons there: 11-2 and 14-1.

But before he arrived in Seattle, he had two season-ending shoulder injuries and two ACL tears.

"I hear it all the time. 'He's been injured, what happens if he gets injured again?' Haven't I shown you what that looks like? Haven't I put almost 2,000 plays on tape since my last injury? ...

"Truth is, I'd be more worried if I had never been injured. We don't all come back the same. I can't speak for those that have never gone through anything. But I can speak on me. I've seen how deep my foundation is. I know the storms I'm prepared to weather. For most people that'd be the end of their story. But there's more to my story, and I own every page of it."

The latest mock drafts project Penix could be selected as high as the No. 10 pick or as low as the No. 44 spot.

--Field Level Media