INDIANAPOLIS — Michael Penix Jr. can't wait to get back on to the field with his teammates.
One of the biggest questions surrounding Indiana football this season is Penix's health coming off a torn ACL last November, but as Penix had to keep reminding reporters Friday afternoon in Lucas Oil Stadium, he's 100 percent healthy and will be playing the season-opener at Iowa on Sept. 4.
Penix also said he'll be back for fall camp, but he just won't be participating in any live periods.
"We have a great group of trainers at Indiana University," Penix said. "Obviously, I'm going to be smart. I want to get that chemistry with the guys so I've been working extremely hard to get to where I need to be so I can get out there as much as possible."
The always-positive Penix was in high spirits on Friday, admitting he doesn't get tired of talking about injuries because it's a part of his journey.
Along with Penix, Indiana wide receiver Ty Fryfogle and linebacker Micah McFadden were also feeling good when talking about the Hoosiers' chances during the 2021 season.
Fryfogle is pleased that he'll have Penix back under center.
"It's a blessing having a guy like him," Fryfogle said. "He's a great leader on and off the field and a special football player, y'all see that. He can make any throw on the field, any throw possible. He's a great leader for our football team. I'm really excited for the fall."
When asked about playing in front of fans again, Fryfogle said he hopes they "pack the rock" and there's numerous sold-out crowds at Memorial Stadium this year.
McFadden echoed the same sentiments.
"Whoever can get out, I want people out at that stadium," McFadden said. "It's exciting for us, and I know the whole team really enjoys running out to a full crowd. Hearing the roar of that crowd again, so I'm really excited for it."
Stadiums at full capacity were probably the second most popular question asked to athletes during the Big Ten Media Day. The first had to do with name, image and likeness.
For the Indiana players, both Penix and McFadden said they haven't really looked into any deals yet. McFadden said he thinks it's awesome that players can make money off of it, but he hasn't done much to do with it yet.
Fryfogle said if there's any brand he could have an NLI deal with, it'd be the Jordan brand because he's a fan of the shoes. Fryfogle went a bit deeper than his two teammates, saying he "has some things lined up," but he also pointed out he's been more focused on football and preparing for the season.
Some Indiana football players have already created some NLI opportunities for themselves, including cornerback Tiawan Mullen, who recently announced a deal with Homefield Apparel.
"They've done a really great job," Fryfogle said of Indiana. "We've had a bunch of team meetings about NIL, just going over the right things to do, the wrong things to do, how to go about things. We also have stuff set up with an app, Opendorse."
Indiana head coach Tom Allen said earlier in the day that this is the most depth he's ever had on an Indiana team since he took over the program in 2016.
When Fryfogle would talk about his fellow receivers, Penix about the offense as a whole and McFadden about the defense as a whole, it was clear this trio had similar thoughts as Allen.
"We have a group full of fighters, guys who won't give up and will continue to push all the way till the end," Penix said. "You can't count us out."
"Our goal is to win the Big Ten Championship," McFadden said. "I think if everybody buys in, similar to how we did last year, and truly believes we can win each game, I think we can get there."
- TOM ALLEN TALKS AT BIG TEN MEDIA DAY: Indiana head coach Tom Allen believes this is the deepest team he's had since being at Indiana, and he thinks the Hoosiers are ready to contend for a Big Ten title. CLICK HERE
- BIG TEN COACHES EXCITED FOR NIL: Name, image and likeness was a constant topic at the 2021 Big Ten Football Media Days at Lucas Oil Stadium. Many of the conference's coaches expressed their eagerness to support their student-athletes as they pursue various opportunities. CLICK HERE
- BIG TEN NAMES BARRY ALVAREZ SPECIAL ADVISOR FOR FOOTBALL: Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren announced Thursday that former Wisconsin athletic Director Barry Alvarez was named Special Advisor for Football. He spent 32 seasons with the Badgers before leaving the university in June. CLICK HERE
- BIG TEN ANNOUNCES GEORGE AND VIOLA TALIAFERRO FELLOWSHIP: George Taliaferro was a pioneer for diversity and inclusion as a player at Indiana University. he was the first Black player to be drafted to the NFL, and the Big Ten honored his family's legacy with the creation of the George and Viola Taliaferro Fellowship. CLICK HERE