Indiana is known as a basketball school and has never had a Heisman Trophy winner. Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. looks to change that this year. Here are two props available to wager at Mybookie on Penix’s Heisman Trophy chances and Indiana’s 2020 college football season – assuming there is one – and an overview.
Out of high school in Tampa, Penix Jr. was rated by 247Sports as the No. 548 player nationally in the Class of 2018, the 21st as a quarterback and the 86th best prospect in Florida. The left-hander threw 61 touchdowns and just six interceptions in his two years as a starter (24 games). He added 16 TDs on the ground. Penix was named the Hillsborough County Player of the Year passed for 2,165 yards with 30 scores, five INTs and a 114.2 quarterback rating as a senior. He visited Indiana and Florida State but ultimately enrolled with Indiana on 2/22/2018.
Penix played three games as a freshman before tearing his ACL vs. Penn State and then redshirting. He went 21-of-34 (61.8 percent) for 219 yards with one touchdown in the three games and rushed seven times for 45 yards.
Last year, he started all six games in which he appeared before suffering a season-ending injury (right sternoclavicular joint) in a win over Northwestern on Nov. 2. Penix set the program single-season completion percentage mark (68.8), which also ranks sixth in Big Ten history. He completed 110-of-160 for 1,394 yards with 10 touchdowns and four interceptions.
Penix posted a 157.56 pass-efficiency rating while rushing for 118 yards on 22 attempts (5.4 average) with two TDs. He averaged 232.3 passing yards and 252.2 total yards per game. Penix became the first Indiana freshman to start the opening game since Antwaan Randle El in 1998. He joined Randle El as the only Hoosier freshman to surpass 300 passing yards in his first start. Penix was one of just four IU freshmen to ever reach the 300-yard benchmark (Kellen Lewis, Bob Hoernschemeyer).
In his first career road start, Penix went 33-of-42 (78.6) for 286 yards and a career-high three scores in his first-career road start at No. 25 Michigan State. He completed a school-record 20-straight passes, the second-longest streak in conference history (Iowa’s Chuck Long, 22 in 1984). The 33 overall completions were a career-high and share seventh on the school’s single-game list.
The Hoosiers ranked 15th in the nation in passing yards per game. They averaged 31.7 points per game and six yards per play. In the 247Sports’ Big-Ten quarterback rankings, Penix was selected as the third-best returning quarterback behind Ohio State’s Justin Fields and Minnesota’s Tanner Morgan.
Peyton Ramsey started four games for the Hoosiers as a redshirt freshman in 2017 and all 12 games in 2018. He lost his starting job to Penix Jr. before last season but started the last seven games after Penix was injured. Indiana went 4-3 in those games, with a seven-point loss at Penn State and a one-point loss to Tennessee in the Gator Bowl, to finish the season 8-5 — its highest win total since 1993. Ramsey transferred this offseason to Northwestern.
Because of the coronavirus, Penix is in his hometown of Tampa and he said that he has been doing strength and conditioning workouts, as well as QB workouts with his personal coach.
“I’m out training myself, personally,” he said. “Coaches sent out the workout to the whole team. Everybody is out with their families but we all find gyms. If we have dumbbells, we do dumbbell workouts or bodyweight. Just different ways we can stay ready or stay in shape. That’s what I’ve been doing myself and I’ve been going to my quarterback coach and I’ve been training and running on my own for the most part.”
Indiana opens the season at Wisconsin on Sept. 4 and will be an underdog.