After slew of injuries, Michael Penix Jr. shares new mindset going into 2023

On3 imageby:On3 Staff Report07/21/23

Few quarterbacks have been through as many season-ending injuries as Washington‘s Michael Penix Jr., who finally got through a season almost fully healthy in 2022.

Prior to that, Penix had watched four straight seasons end with injury.

He suffered a torn ACL in both 2018 and 2020. He also suffered a sternoclavicular joint injury in 2019, then an AC joint (shoulder) injury in 2021.

Despite that, he was able to get through a complete season with Washington in his first season after transferring in from Indiana in 2022. It was a monster year, too, with Penix emerging as a fringe Heisman Trophy contender and setting up for a monster super senior season in 2023.

The Washington quarterback admitted his mindset has now flipped.

“For me the things that changed my mindset, obviously my injuries and stuff that I’ve been through,” Penix said at Pac-12 Media Days. “That just makes me think like every play I make I know that it could be my last play of the season, because I’ve been through it. I just play every play to the fullest and I just go out there and have fun.”

Michael Penix’s injuries aren’t on his mind quite as much anymore, which gets easier when you have the kind of season he did last year.

The senior went 362-of-554 passing (65.3%) for 4,641 yards, with 31 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. He also ran for 92 yards and four more scores.

The injuries? Not front of mind.

“I really don’t think about it anymore,” Penix said. “There’s times where I was still playing with that in the back of my head, just knowing that, OK, I could get hurt. But now I feel like I got to the point where I’ve got so much support around me, and my family and my friends always being there for me and lifting me up and keeping me level-headed.”

Obviously the Huskies will be hoping that continues and they don’t have to deal with any Michael Penix injuries in 2023. That, of course, isn’t a guarantee.

However, Penix is going to play lax and loose, unconcerned with the potential for injury.

He credits all of his family and friends around him, lifting him up, for helping him keep that mentality.

“It just allowed me to just go out there and have fun,” Penix said. “So now it’s just like I’m going to play every play like my last because I understand that it could be. So I feel like that definitely changed my mindset.”