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26 Days to Purdue Football: Antoine Lewis

Today is a beautiful day. Can you smell that lovely scent in the air? You can? Well, do you know what that is? That, my friend, is the glorious scent of being yet another day closer to the start of the 2012 Purdue football season! Or, then again, it could just be sweat...or chlorine.

Nonetheless, as I soak up some sun and pool water in the lovely weather we have up here in Southeastern Wisconsin, I declare that today marks 26 days until some awesome Purdue football action. And being that it's 26 days in the Kickoff Countdown, today's featured player is a guy who hasn't really made a name for himself yet. But he should get a great opportunity to do just that this year. Allow me to introduce, the redshirt sophomore Cornerback, #26 Antoine Lewis.

Antoine Lewis - So. (RS)

Hometown: Broadview, IL (Proviso East HS)


5'10", 182 pounds

2012 Projection: Backup/Reserve at Cornerback

Antoine Lewis began his college career at Purdue in the fall of 2010. Before that, however, he played high school football at Proviso East High School in Maywood, Illinois, a nearby western suburb of Chicago. Proviso, a public school of 1700 students, is known for its excellent athletic programs and its large list of notable alumni--which includes former Purdue President Martin Jischke, current NBA player Michael Finley and Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

While at Proviso, Antoine earned two all-conference selections for football and recorded 40 tackles and three interceptions in his senior season. And when it was time to look at colleges, he was considered a three star recruit by Scout, Rivals and ESPN. On an interesting side note, Lewis ended up choosing Purdue over offers from Minnesota, Eastern Michigan and Western Kentucky. Once he came to West Lafayette, however, Lewis got the redshirt his true freshman season in 2010. And then his 2011 campaign was not very noteworthy. He was low on the depth chart and hardly saw the field, recording one tackle during reserve action.

Nevertheless, Antoine has the potential for a breakthrough season in 2012. Currently in his redshirt sophomore year, #26 sits behind incumbent starters Ricardo Allen and Josh Johnson and returning Nickelback Normondo Harris on the depth chart. Yet, Lewis should definitely play a much larger role this year than he did in 2011. He will most likely play as the Dimeback, the fourth Cornerback on the depth chart who is called out for "Dime" type coverage formations that are used to combat Spread offensive schemes with as many as four or five wideouts. Antoine is expected to also see some limited action playing either the first or second Corner spot in relief for Allen or Johnson. Yet another intriguing point about Lewis is that he can play Safety as well, so fans should expect him to accrue some playing time behind Max Charlot and company.

So, as you can see, Antoine still has to prove himself if he wants to be a real difference maker for the Purdue defense this year. But from what I've seen in YouTube highlight videos, I like the guy's physical style of play and on-the-field attitude. And although he has seen little action so far in his Purdue football career, rest assured that Antoine is quick, has great hands, and possesses rare talent for coverage and tackling at his position. I think Antoine Lewis playing a larger role within the D could be a very good thing. He's a talented guy who could bring some serious swagger and physicality to the defensive backfield, and it never hurts to have more of those things.