Penix, a social work major, has a 2.8 grade-point average. He knows not everyone thought he could succeed academically in college, and he's proud of what he's accomplished.
"The teachers are great and there is a lot of one-on-one help available," Penix said. "My grades are no problem."
Not playing has been hard on Penix, a starter on Danville's 2003 state championship team.
"I can see the mistakes the running backs we have make by watching games. I know I can help," Penix said. "The coaches told me I could learn by watching, and I have. Now I just want my chance to show what I have learned because not playing has been hard on me."
Gained weight but kept speed
Penix now weighs 218 pounds, but says he has the same speed he did at Danville when he weighed about 15 pounds less. He did daily agility workouts at Centre during the summer and also ran two or three times per day. He liftted weights for two hours five days a week and then worked third shift at a local factory.
"I would be pretty tired, but there are certain things you just have to do. I am not going to let this year pass by without giving it my best shot. I still have a lot of football ahead of me," Penix said. "The coaches gave me a lot of compliments at the end of the spring and told me I had a chance to do very well this year."
Campbellsville runs a spread offense, but will also shift into option formations where Penix can use his power and speed.
"Sometimes during practice things are not easy, but the coaches are always there to help me," he said. "We should be very good this year. Last year we had a lot of injuries on defense, but we have a lot of experience back now. Offensively, we should be fine."
Penix has also learned how to adjust to the more physical play at the college level.
"At first, it was hard to get used to the size of the players," he said. "In high school, I was probably bigger than most players. Now everybody is bigger than me. The hitting is a lot harder, too. There are no soft tackles. They come, hit you and you feel it. I've finally learned to give a hit as well as take one. But college ball is a lot rougher than most people realize."