High School Sports

Pair of Southwest Patriots sign with in-state colleges, look to make an impact

Southwest’s Jaquez Pennimon (5) rushes down field against Northeast. Pennimon has signed with Georgia State to play football next season.
Southwest’s Jaquez Pennimon (5) rushes down field against Northeast. Pennimon has signed with Georgia State to play football next season. photo@macon.com

In 1990, a kid from Southwest High School named Joe Dupree selected which college he would attend to play football.

He would ultimately select the University of Georgia before transferring to Georgia Southern to finish out his college career.

Dupree is now back at Southwest as the head coach of the Patriots. This week, that process came full circle as he watched two of his players select in-state schools to continue their football careers at.

Defensive back Jaquez Pennimon will head to Georgia State while his teammate Marquez Baxter go to Kennesaw State to play linebacker.

For Pennimon, this day was a long time coming. He started playing at the age of 5 and was a four-year starter at Southwest, but started receiving college offers as a freshman. He knew long before then that football would get him a scholarship to a university.

“When I was 10 years old I scored four times in one game,” he said. “I knew then I had a chance to be something special.”

As the offers poured from around the country, Pennimon began to narrow down which school he would attend. He eventually would settle on Georgia State, where he has set lofty goals that he hopes to accomplish.

“I just felt like the coaches (at Georgia State) showed the most love,” he said. “I want to be Sunbelt Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year, I want to reach higher goals than I did in high school.”

With Pennimon set to leave, Southwest is left with the task of trying to replace him in their lineup, Dupree said.

“He is a great person. He is a better person than he is a football player,” Dupree said. “He leaves a huge legacy. I‘ve got some big shoes to fill.”

Baxter will not be far from his teammate when he heads to Kennesaw State next fall. Unlike Pennimon, Baxter got a late jump in the game of football.

“Ninth grade I came in and I didn’t know much about football,” he said. “The players encouraged me to come out and play.”

He realized in 11th grade that there was a chance for him to play in college.

“I made a Twitter. I put my film on Twitter and a lot of coaches started following me,” Baxter said. “They started sending me camp invites. It felt good.”

Dupree said that what makes Baxter special is that he is a warrior. He’s also a player willing to attack the weight room and do whatever is asked of him.

“He is a Kennesaw State guy,” Dupree said. “He is a hard worker. Blue collar. Tough, able to compete every day.”

The chance to see his two athletes sign is big for Dupree and Southwest. It is the first time the school has had players sign during the new Early Signing Period.

“I am not in the business for the wins and the losses. I am in there to see guys going to college,” Dupree said.