Canzano: "Next thing you know, you're rivals"
Oregon's Bo Nix vs. Washington's Michael Penix Jr.
They played from light-post to light-post on State Street. There were no first downs. You had to score a touchdown. Michael Penix Jr. was always the youngest player in the game on that narrow road in Florida.
Old neighborhood friends.
“It was everybody for themselves,” Penix Jr. told me. “I’ve got marks on my body still from those games.”
I spoke with the Washington quarterback this summer in Las Vegas. When Penix Jr. arrived for our interview he was wearing a polo shirt, khaki slacks and a pair of Adidas sneakers. He showed me the scars, we talked about neighborhood games, his tattoos, his two younger brothers, and Washington’s coaching staff.
Then, I asked: “Why did you come back for another season?”
“It wasn’t about NIL at all,” he said. “We had unfinished business. We had goals to win the Pac-12 championship and we didn’t even get there.”
Oregon’s Bo Nix remembers meeting Penix Jr. seven years ago at a quarterback camp in Tennessee. The two teenagers — one from Alabama and the other from Florida — shook hands.
“Oh hey, I’m Bo,” one kid said.
“Hey, I’m Michael,” the other said.
Nix told me this summer: “Next thing you know, you’re rivals. It’s a small world and crazy how life does that.”