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IU taps Penix Jr. as new starting quarterback



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Redshirt freshman quarterback Michael Penix Jr. makes a pass downfield during IU’s 38-10 win over Ball State on Sept. 15, 2018 at Memorial Stadium. Penix Jr. was named the starting quarterback today for IU's first game against Ball State University. Sam House

There’s a new voice in the Hoosiers’ huddle.

IU Head Coach Tom Allen announced Monday morning that freshman Michael Penix Jr. will become the new starting quarterback. Penix Jr. beat out junior Peyton Ramsey and redshirt freshman Jack Tuttle for the first-team position.

Penix came to IU from Tampa Bay Tech in Florida with high expectations as a freshman, ranked as the 21st pro-style quarterback in the 2018 recruiting class. He competed for the position in last season’s fall camp before Ramsey beat him out for the starting job. 

Penix’s strong arm gives IU the opportunity to add something to the offense that has been lacking over Ramsey’s last two campaigns: a reliable deep ball threat. Combining Penix’s downfield passing ability with the size and strength on the perimeter of fifth-year seniors Nick Westbrook and Donovan Hale, the Hoosiers will look to improve upon its 36th ranked passing attack from last season. 

On top of Penix’s arm, his ability to run out of the pocket puts consistent pressure on the defense. If opposing defenses just drop back into coverage and ignore him, Penix is more than willing to put his head down and flash his speed to create big plays and keep the offense moving.

During limited action last season, Penix showed glimpses of the electrifying dual-threat quarterback many expected to see coming into the season. Penix looked poised to dethrone Ramsey as the season played on before he tore his ACL against Penn State. 

Overall, Penix completed 21 of his 34 pass attempts for 219 yards and a touchdown last season, while also rushing for 45 yards on just seven carries.

As a result of Penix’s injury, he barely played in spring football but looked healthy in the videos shared of him during his rehab and has impressed the coaching staff enough throughout fall camp to earn the starting role.

The cloud hovering over who will be IU’s quarterback has finally passed. Now it’s a question of, can Penix take those impressive glimpses and turn them into consistent play with the first-team?

Penix will make his first career start as IU kicks off its season against Ball State at noon Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium. The game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.

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