Skip to main content

'I can't wait to be a part of it': Michael Penix Jr. describes visit, phone call that sealed his fate with Atlanta

Michael Penix Jr. was confident he impressed the Falcons but didn't expect to be picked No. 8 overall until he heard the phone ring. 

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Michael Penix Jr. had no idea the Falcons were going to pick him at No. 8 overall until he heard his phone ring.

The Washington quarterback was confident in his session with the Falcons leadership back at the beginning of April, but it was a surprise nonetheless.

"I had no idea," Penix said Thursday night after being drafted in the first round. "Everything happens for a reason."

Penix got the call while back home in South Florida where he spent the 2024 NFL Draft with his family. The 23-year-old quarterback became a breakout prospect after two years in Washington, recording over 4,500 passing yards in both seasons.

The Falcons came to visit Penix in Seattle, Washington for a throwing session that lasted about 45 minutes. Penix felt assured that not only did he put on an impressive performance, but he also felt like he created a strong bond with the Falcons.

"It was just fluid," Penix said of his conversation with the Falcons brass. "It just felt like nothing was forced. We had a great time, I feel like the way we bonded together."

As confident as he felt about the meeting, he still wasn't sure they'd select him with a top-10 pick. When he got the phone call and had a chance to speak with general manager Terry Fontenot and company, it all clicked. It made sense because he knew they built a formidable relationship in just a short amount of time.


Penix is eager to get into the Falcons facility and make an impact, but he understands the dynamic in the quarterback room after Atlanta spent top dollar to bring in veteran Kirk Cousins in free agency.

"I'm gonna come in, and I'm gonna learn from (Cousins)," Penix said. "... He's been in the league for a while and there's a reason behind that. I want to be able to soak in as much knowledge as I can."

It's not the first time Penix would have to exercise a little patience to meet his moment.

In 2017, he committed to Tennessee and Butch Jones after his junior year of high school, but Jones was fired just over six months later. When the Volunteers subsequently rescinded the offer, Penix adjusted.

He committed to Indiana and caught a dreadful case of the injury bug, sustaining not one, not two, not even three but four season-ending injuries. Again, he pivoted.

Penix found his final collegiate home in Washington, where he got a chance to show his electric throwing ability with 67 touchdowns in two seasons. He took the Huskies all the way to the college football national championship game as an unlikely underdog facing heights it had never seen before.

Now, he's ready to do the same in Atlanta.

"I look forward to winning a championship," Penix said. "I feel like that's what it's all about and I feel like there's definitely something special going on over there in Atlanta. I can't wait to be a part of it."

Related Content