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Tampa area quarterback Penix places second in the Heisman Trophy race

Man in a purple suit opens the inside of his jacket to show his teammates' names on the liner.
Eduardo Munoz Alvarez
Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr., a Heisman Trophy finalist, shows the inside of his jacket with his teammates' names at the end of a news conference before the award ceremony Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023, in New York.

Michael Penix Jr., came in second in Heisman voting. He received 292 first place votes and 1,701 points overall.

Washington quarterback and Tampa Bay area native Michael Penix Jr. was the runner-up for the 2023 Heisman Trophy.

The honor went to LSU’s Jayden Daniels during the ceremony Saturday night in New York.

Penix, 23, was raised in Dade City and graduated in 2018 from Tampa Bay Tech High School. He started there for two years, and was named Hillsborough County’s Player of the Year as a senior.

When Penix took the stage in New York with Daniels and the other finalists, he credited his success to his faith and family. He also revealed another influence in the lining of his Huskie purple suit coat: the names of his teammates and coaches.

Takisha Penix and Michael Penix Sr., joined their son for an interview during the ceremony, which aired on ESPN. Penix said having parents who both played Division I college sports helped him keep perspective. But he said he also appreciated advice his father gave before each game he played.

“Stay in the moment. My dad tells me every time. Have fun,” he said.

Penix’s college sports career started at Indiana, where his athletics were marred by multiple season-ending injuries. That and NCAA COVID-19 pandemic eligibility rules allowed Penix to play two additional seasons at Washington, where he transferred as a junior in 2022. ESPN host Chris Fowler referred to Penix as “the comeback kid.”

Four men in suits stand around Heisman Trophy. Each one has a hand on the trophy
Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AP
FR171643 AP
Heisman Trophy finalists, from left, LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels, Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., Oregon quarterback Bo Nix and Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. pose with the trophy after attending a news conference before the award ceremony, Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023, in New York.

Penix said before Saturday’s announcement that his move to Washington was influenced by Huskies coach Kalen DeBoer, who had been offensive coordinator with the Hoosiers.

“He's definitely the biggest factor into me transferring to Washington. It's just having that trust out there on the field and just knowing that every time I snap the ball, I have opportunity to do something great with it,” Penix said. “You know that feeling is something that you can’t match.”

Penix leads the nation at 324 yards passing per game, guiding the second-ranked Huskies to a Pac-12 title and College Football Playoff appearance.

The Heisman voting placed Penix second, with 292 first-place votes and 1,701 points. Oregon's Bo Nix was third (51 first-place, 885 points). Ohio State receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. finished fourth (20 first place, 352 points).

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