Dade City native Mike Penix Jr., a rising redshirt sophomore quarterback at Indiana University (IU), earned a spot on the preseason watch list for the 84th Maxwell Award, presented annually to the most outstanding player in college football. He is one of 90 college football players nationally selected to the watch list.
Penix won’t be seen in action until next year. His school’s member conference, the Big Ten, announced earlier this month it postponed its upcoming fall season to spring 2021, due to COVID-19.
The lefty thrower played his freshman and sophomore prep seasons at Pasco High School, before transferring to Tampa Bay Technical High School for his junior and senior seasons.
As a redshirt college freshman in 2019, the 6-foot-3 Penix set IU’s single-season completion percentage mark (68.8%), which also ranks sixth in Big Ten history. He completed 110 of 160 passes for 1,394 yards with 10 touchdowns and four interceptions, and he posted a 157.56 pass-efficiency rating. He also rushed for 118 yards on 22 attempts (5.4 average) with two touchdowns.
A two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week selection, Penix averaged 232.3 passing yards and 252.2 total yards per game in six games.
Penix’s promising redshirt freshman season was cut short after he suffered a clavicle injury in an early November contest against Northwestern.
The Maxwell Award has been presented to the College Player of the Year since 1937 and is named in honor of Robert “Tiny” Maxwell, a former standout at Swarthmore College, who went on to become a renowned sportswriter and football official.
Also notable, Penix’s father was an All-State tailback/defensive back at Pasco High in the early ’90s; his uncle starred there, too.