Washington's Penix Jr. nominated for Orange Bowl Courage Award

DALLAS (FWAA) – Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. is this week’s nominee for the 2022 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award. Penix, a fifth-year junior, has established himself as an early season Heisman Trophy candidate after suffering season-ending injuries in each of his previous four campaigns.

Michael Penix Jr.“It’s not about me,” Penix said after Saturday’s win over Michigan State. “I couldn’t do it without my O-Line. No sacks. That’s a great game for a quarterback, when you don’t get sacked. It was really good. It’s just making sure that we stay consistent. I felt real comfortable out there knowing that I’ve got five guys up there that are going to protect me each and every play. They’ll go to war for me and I’ll do the same for them. I’ve got weapons on the outside that are going to find a way to get open, so they make it easy for me.”

Penix tore the ACL in his right knee in the eighth game of his first season at Indiana in 2018, but he bounced back in 2019 to start six games before that campaign was cut short due to a right sternoclavicular joint injury. The Tampa, Fla., native returned to start six games during the Hoosiers’ 6-2 season in 2020, before tearing the ACL in his right knee once again.

Penix then saw his final season at Indiana end after five games due to an AC separation in his left shoulder.

The 6-3, 213-pound southpaw graduated from Indiana and transferred to Washington after the 2021 season to reunite with new Huskies head coach Kalen DeBoer, who had served as the Hoosiers’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach during the program’s 8-5 campaign in 2019. Penix has been one of the top players in the country so far this season, completing 66 percent of his passes with 10 touchdowns and just one interception. Penix ranks second nationally in passing yards (1,079). He threw for 397 yards and four touchdowns in Washington’s primetime win Saturday over the No. 11 Spartans.

Penix was a two-time captain at Indiana, and in 2020 he earned second-team All-Big Ten honors and won the Hoosiers’ team MVP award. He left Bloomington, Ind., with 4,197 career passing yards, 29 touchdown passes and six rushing touchdowns.

The Courage Award was first presented by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) in 2002. A select group of writers from the FWAA vote on the winner each year. The requirements for nomination include displaying courage on or off the field, including overcoming an injury or physical handicap, preventing a disaster or living through hardship. The winner of the award will be included in festivities during Capital One Orange Bowl week and receive his trophy at an on-field presentation.

Previous winners of the Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award are the University of Utah football Team (2021), Arkansas State analyst Alex Charlton (2020), Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson (2019), SUNY Cortland linebacker Kyle Richard (2018), Wisconsin safety D'Cota Dixon (2017), Pitt running back James Conner (2016), Miami offensive lineman Hunter Knighton (2015), Duke offensive lineman Laken Tomlinson (2014), San Jose State defensive lineman Anthony Larceval (2013), Clemson wide receiver Daniel Rodriguez (2012), Michigan State offensive lineman Arthur Ray Jr. (2011), Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand (2010), the University of Connecticut football team (2009), Tulsa's Wilson Holloway (2008), Navy's Zerbin Singleton (2007), Clemson's Ray Ray McElrathbey (2006), the Tulane football team (2005), Memphis' Haracio Colen (2004), San Jose State's Neil Parry (2003) and Toledo's William Bratton (2002).

About Orange Bowl
Orange Bowl is a 391-member, primarily-volunteer non-profit sports organization that promotes and serves the South Florida community. With its primary mission since being created in 1935 to bring tourism to South Florida through an annual football game and events, it has also maintained a legacy of charitable contributions and community outreach. Orange Bowl’s community outreach is embodied by the four pillars of its Orange Bowl Cares program: Youth Sports, Education, Community Engagement and Legacy Programs. Orange Bowl features a year-round schedule of events culminating with the 2022 Capital One Orange Bowl on Dec. 30. For more information on the 2022 Orange Bowl events, including promotional inquiries and volunteer opportunities through the Ambassador Program presented by Panera Bread, log on to orangebowl.org or follow @OrangeBowl on social media.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com.

To submit a nomination for the Capital One Orange Bowl Courage Award, contact Matt Fortuna at mfortuna@theathletic.com.