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Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018
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Tampa Bay Tech’s Michael Penix Jr. chooses Indiana

One of Florida's most coveted left-handed prep passers telegraphed one Wednesday.

Roughly 15 minutes before his signing ceremony commenced inside Tampa Bay Tech's media center, Penix changed out of a long-sleeve camouflage top into a black dress shirt with a red tie.

It should've been a giveaway. Shortly thereafter, he put on a hat to match, one that bore the red Indiana University logo.

"I feel like I'm gonna be able to make a big impact coming in and I'm gonna create my own legacy," he said.

A onetime Tennessee commit who threw for 61 touchdowns and only six interceptions the last two years, Penix pulled one of the more prominent misdirection plays of the early signing period, picking the Hoosiers over USF and FSU.

Indiana finished 5-7 under first-year coach Tom Allen (whose bay area ties run deep), but its passing offense ranked 37th nationally (265.7 ypg). Additionally, Penix has developed a long relationship with Hoosiers quarterbacks coach Nick Sheridan, who worked at Tennessee before joining Allen's staff in February.

"He always kept in contact with me, always was in my head, saying that he loved me," said Penix, who threw for nearly 2,200 yards and led the Titans to an 11-2 mark this past season.

"I went up, there it's a great campus, great education program. Big Ten, it's a big conference to play in and my family said that they liked it."

Penix, who visited IU early last week, was the second bay area player to sign Wednesday with the Hoosiers, joining Plant LB Micah McFadden. Indiana was No. 41 in the 247Sports team recruiting rankings as of early Wednesday afternoon, well ahead of USF (54th) and FSU (64th).

"Tremendously excited about (Penix)," Allen said. "He's listed as a pro-style quarterback on paper, but that's not what he is. He's a dual guy. Really, really gifted athlete. Really good basketball player, could run and jump extremely well and has those qualities.

"He's going to come here and compete, and he'll be a mid-year guy. … Excited about his leadership and character. Really stuck out to me in this process. Our staff knew him before because of prior relationships and other places we've been. So really excited about him and what he brings to our crew."

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