It is always a good time when a walk-on earns playing time. This year Purdue has a handful of guys who have made it to the field the hard way, including the first of today’s two players.
Antonio Blackmon - Sr.
Fort Wayne, IN (Bishop Dwenger, HS)
6’, 195 pounds
2018 Projection: Starter at cornerback or nickel.
Blackmon comes from the same high school as another famous Purdue walk-on-turned-starter: Landon Feichter. He joined the team in 2015 and was a spring game hero fromt he beginning. He had an interception with a 27 yard return in the 2015 spring game and added a second interception in the 2016 spring game.
It was during the 2016 season that he started to see some regular playing time. He played in 11 games mostly as a nickel corner and finished with nine tackles. He also had an interception at Minnesota that he returned 34 yards to set up a touchdown just before halftime.
Last season he also saw action in 11 games. He finished with 11 tackles, two pass breakups, and a fumble recovery at Iowa. The fumble recovery came at a key time, as Matt VandeBerg fumbled a punt and Blackmon recovered it at the Iowa 16, setting up a field goal that all but clinched the game midway through the 4th quarter.
This year Blackmon could end up being a starter at cornerback. At minimum, he will play extensively in the nickel.
Danny Carollo - So.
Lake Forest, IL (Lake Forest HS)
6’1”, 210 pounds
2018 Projection: Deep Reserve at quarterback
Carollo joined the team two years ago as a walk-on and in that time has been a steady scout team quarterback. Carrollo decided to walk-on at Purdue after receiving an offer from perennial FCS playoff team Northern Iowa. As a junior he led his team to a pair of upset wins in the state tournament with 632 yards and 6 TDs. He has some promise for a walk-on that was possibly overlooked by other schools, but he still has a long way to go to see the field.
At Lake Forest HS he also played basketball, but a thumb injury cost him most of his last two seasons total. Lake Forest went 27-3 his junior season, including a win over Evanston when Nojel Eastern was there.