Photo by Lauren Olson, Photography Editor
By Jack Kochman, For The Miami Student
Miami football head coach Chuck Martin doesn't hesitate in describing his starting quarterback.
"Do you remember the show Bill Nye the Science Guy? That's Andrew Hendrix."
Miami University football fans have suffered a historically long losing streak over the last two years, but at long last, the football team won over the University of Massachusetts Minutemen Oct. 4. Per the norm, Miami quarterback Andrew Hendrix was leading the charge.
Hendrix proceeded to win the Capital One Cup Impact Performance of the Week, as well. He completed 32 passes on 58 attempts for 437 yards and four touchdowns to get a QBR of 80.1. His 13 carries for 81 yards helped Miami overcome a 27-point deficit. But, despite his recent claims to fame, few students know who Hendrix really is.
Hendrix is at Miami as a Kinesiology and Health Science graduate student. He spent his undergraduate years at the University of Notre Dame, as a pre-med student and football player.
One of the main reasons Hendrix switched was because of his lack of playing time with the Fighting Irish, he said. Throwing 58 passes in three years isn't ideal for any college quarterback. Since Hendrix didn't play freshman year, he utilized the NCAA's graduate transfer waiver that required both Notre Dame and Miami to allow him to play as a RedHawk during grad school.
"Coming from Notre Dame, I didn't play much and I really wanted to finish my career as a starting quarterback," Hendrix said. "That was something I always wanted since I was a little kid."
"Unfortunately, he didn't grow up watching Monday Night Football. They had him doing calculus problems at the dinner table," Martin joked.
Hendrix said a number of factors impacted his decision to transfer. One of which was the opportunity to take a struggling program with potential and lead it back to a competitive level.
"To be a collegiate starter would be a dream come true," Hendrix said. "For my fifth year, I started looking at schools and I'm from Cincinnati so I was always going to consider Miami. Once Coach Martin told me he was coming to Miami, he wanted me to come and compete to be his quarterback, then it was pretty much a done deal."
Along with head football coach Chuck Martin, Hendrix was accompanied by seniors Alex Welch and Lo Wood. According to Hendrix, Martin was the inspiration for the players to transfer.
"They loved Coach Martin like all the guys here do," Hendrix said. "He's a coach that expects a lot out of you, and oftentimes he expects more out of you than you do and that was something we all appreciated."
Hendrix has only played a few games as a RedHawk, but already he has seen the effects of a lengthy losing streak - especially when MU got the elusive first win.
"When they did that, it was almost a disbelief to me," Hendrix said. "To see our guys run out there, I've seen the pain after only five games and it took 22 games to get to that point."
It was indeed a spectacle. Like a curse broken, fans were ecstatic. After trailing by 27 points to the Minutemen, Miami stormed back to win the game 42-41. In such a tense game, the emotions flowed afterwards.
"Just to see some of our guys crying - the cheerleaders, the fans, the families, the trainers, everyone who has been a part of this entire streak - working to get out of this hole; to be out there with them and to sing the fight song was an unbelievable experience," Hendrix said.
For a man who has been with the school for less than a year, he was all smiles when discussing Miami as a whole.
"I really do love Miami," Hendrix said. "It's been great."
Hailing from Cincinnati, Hendrix was familiar with the territory.
"I had been up here a few times for some baseball tournaments and I had a few friends who went up here," Hendrix said. "The campus is unbelievable and the people are incredibly nice."
Although, some may say Miami is a hockey school, fans still love their football.
"The people here love their football and that was apparent the first time I came here," Hendrix said. "They really wanted a winning team, so to start to be able to give that to them has been great for the community and great for us."
Looking to provide that winning team for Miami, the RedHawks have room to improve in multiple areas. Although most games have been competitive, only two have granted a win.
"I think the main thing for us is just limiting our mistakes," Hendrix said. "We are talented enough to compete with every single team left on our schedule. If you look at the first six games for us, we were in a lot of the games but we very well could have won them all … If we limit our mistakes offensively and don't go backwards defensively, get turnovers, and don't give up big plays, then we'll definitely be able to win. Those are our focuses going forward and if we do that and don't worry about the scores, we are going to like the results and get more wins."
Martin said Hendrix is the ideal leader.
"He's the hardest working guy we've got on the team," Martin said. "He works hard in the weight room and in the film room. He watches more tape than everyone so he always is 100 percent positive picking everyone up. When he gets sacked he never complains about anybody missing their blocks or anything like that. He's what you look for as far as being a leader and doing everything right in his own life but also trying to encourage everyone else to do things the right way."
But, there is more to Hendrix than meets the eye - in his case, more than just football.
"I like to think I'm a bit of an outdoorsman," Hendrix said. "I've been hunting a few times and I like to fish with my dad. I like to hang out with friends. I really just enjoy being with the guys that I spend time on the field with, and hanging with them off the field is really a great time."
Hendrix's long time teammate Alex Welch knows Hendrix particularly well. The two roommates met at Notre Dame as freshmen four years ago.
"He's fun, he's free-spirited, and he likes to sing a lot so I have to deal with that since I live with him," Welch said. "We play a lot of Madden. I tend to beat him every time we play."
Just like many roommates do, they play video games together, eat together and hang out together. However, this duo is unique because they have stuck with each other for quite some time.
"We both decided that we wanted to seek a fifth-year option somewhere else and once we decided that we kind of had an idea we wanted to play together, Welch said. "We played together for four years and are both from Cincinnati so we're familiar with each other."
Martin had many inspiring words to say of Hendrix.
"He's probably one of the nicest, most genuine people you'll ever be around. Honestly, he does not ever think about himself," Martin said. "He always is worried about everyone around him and just again one of the most unique and one of the most diverse college student-athletes I've ever been around for being as talented as he is academically; and he has a lot of interests outside of just playing sports which is pretty unique. He's pretty talented, pretty gifted and a great kid."
Hendrix said he is enjoying his time at Miami, but is also looking forward to his options for the future.
"Hopefully this season, the last few games, go great," Hendrix said. "I would love to pursue something on the football side of things, maybe train in the spring. But if that opportunity doesn't present itself, I'll try to finish my degree and then I'm going to apply to med school this spring."