Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. and wide receiver Ty Fryfogle earned mention on the Maxwell Award Watch list for college football’s best all-around player. Linebacker Micah McFadden and cornerback Tiawan Mullen, meanwhile, made the watch list for the Bednarik Award, which goes to the nation’s top defensive player.
Penix threw for 1,645 yards and 14 touchdowns last season and rushed for two more before an ACL tear against Maryland ended his season. The second-team All-Big Ten pick is expected to be back to full strength by the start of training camp in August. Fryfogle, a first-team All-Big Ten pick, caught 37 passes for 721 yards and seven touchdowns last season.
McFadden and Mullen both earned All-America honors from at least one organization last year. McFadden led the Hoosiers with 58 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks. Mullen recorded 38 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, three interceptions and four pass break-ups.
From IU Athletics:
MCFADDEN, MULLEN ON BEDNARIK AWARD WATCH LIST
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana senior linebacker Micah McFadden and junior cornerback Tiawan Mullen landed on the watch list for the 27th annual Chuck Bednarik Award powered by Mammoth Tech, presented annually to the outstanding defensive player in college football, the Maxwell Football Club announced on Monday morning. Mullen is on the list for the second time in as many years.
The Chuck Bednarik Award has been presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year since 1995 and is named in honor of Chuck Bednarik, a former standout at the University of Pennsylvania and with the Philadelphia Eagles. Bednarik is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame’s Class of ’69 and the NFL Hall of Fame’s Class of ’67.
The full watch list consists of 90 players, with Indiana one of 11 schools having two players represented.
McFadden collected second-team All-America honors from Phil Steele and third-team accolades from the Associated Press in 2020. A first-team All-Big Ten honoree (coaches, media), McFadden was named IU’s Anthony Thompson Most Valuable Player along with quarterback Michael Penix Jr.
He led the team with 58 tackles, 44 solos, six sacks (31 yards), and 10.5 for loss (39 yards), while he shared second with three quarterback hurries, and finished fourth with two interceptions. McFadden topped the Big Ten in sacks, the first Hoosier to do so since Greg Middleton (2007), tied for second in solo stops, shared third in TFLs, and tied for eighth in INTs.
After the Hoosiers win at No. 16 Wisconsin, he carded Walter Camp National Player of the Week and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week laurels. A team captain, McFadden recorded a game-high nine tackles with a pair of sacks in the program’s first victory in Madison since 2001.
Mullen became the first cornerback in program history to earn first-team All-America honors (FWAA, Phil Steele) one year ago. He was just the second cornerback (Tim Wilbur, 1980 second-teamer) in school history to achieve All-America status and was the first Hoosier since offensive lineman Dan Feeney (2015, 2016) to claim first-team recognition.
Upon the conclusion of the regular season, Mullen became the program’s first cornerback to card first-team All-Big Ten honors since Tracy Porter (2007). He is the team’s active leader with eight career takeaways (3 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries).
The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native was named IU’s 2020 Most Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year after he made 38 tackles, 27 solo, with 3.5 sacks (32 yards), 4.5 for loss (33 yards), three interceptions, one forced fumble, four pass breakups, and one quarterback hurry in eight games.
Mullen led all Big Ten defensive backs in sacks (T-12th overall) and TFLs, and shared sixth overall in INTs. He finished tied for first on the team in forced fumbles, second in sacks, third in solos stops, tackles for loss and picks, tied for third in PBUs, and fourth in total stops.
FRYFOGLE, PENIX SELECTED TO MAXWELL AWARD WATCH LIST
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana senior wide receiver Ty Fryfogle and redshirt junior quarterback Michael Penix Jr. earned spots on the watch list for the 85th Maxwell Award powered by Mammoth Tech, presented annually to the outstanding player in college football, the Maxwell Football Club announced on Monday morning. Penix is on the list for the second time in as many years.
The Maxwell Award has been presented to the College Player of the Year since 1937 and is named in honor of Robert “Tiny” Maxwell who was a former standout at the Swarthmore College and a renowned sports writer and football official.
The full watch list consists of 80 players, with Indiana one of 14 schools having two players represented.
Fryfogle became the first IU wideout since James Hardy (2007) to collect All-America status when he was honored as a 2020 third-teamer by the Associated Press.
The first Hoosier in program history to be named the Big Ten’s Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year, Fryfogle also collected first-team all-conference honors. One of 11 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award, Fryfogle became the first receiver in B1G history to record back-to-back 200-yard games, the first Indiana wideout to reach 200 yards twice, and the first Hoosier since Nate Sudfeld (2015) to claim back-to-back Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors.
A native of Lucedale, Miss., Fryfogle led the team with 721 yards (4th in the Big Ten), 90.1 yards per game (5th, 29th nationally), seven touchdowns (T-3rd, T-30th), and 19.5 yards per reception (3rd, 23rd). He finished second with 37 catches (T-9th) and 4.6 grabs per game.
Fryfogle is the 21st Hoosier to reach 100 receptions (112) and 1,500 yards (1,719). He is 16th on the program’s career yardage list and 25th in career catches.
A 2020 team captain, Penix was one of 17 semifinalists for the Davey O’Brien Award, a second-team All-Big Ten honoree (coaches, media), and IU’s Anthony Thompson Most Valuable Player alongside linebacker Micah McFadden.
The Tampa native completed 124-of-220 (56.4 percent) for 1,645 yards with 14 touchdowns and four interceptions, and he rushed for a pair of TDs. He averaged a Big Ten-leading 274.2 yards per game (18th nationally) and recorded a 136.54 pass-efficiency rating.
Penix started all six games in which he appeared before he suffered a season-ending ACL injury in the Maryland win (Nov. 28). Entering the Terrapins game, he led the league in passing yardage, passing yardage per game (312.2, 9th nationally), passing scores, completions, attempts, 60-yard passing plays (4, T-2nd), 50-yarders (6, T-7th), 40-yarders (tied 6, T-33rd), and 30-yarders (11, T-39th).
The southpaw owns a 10-2 record as a starter and is 255-of-414 (61.6, 2nd in program history) for 3,258 yards with 25 touchdowns, eight INTs, and a 143.8 pass-efficiency rating in 15 games. He has 189 yards on the ground on 47 attempts (4.0 average) with four TDs.
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