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Purdue Football player Countdown: #52 Zac Tuinei

The transfer from Arkansas State is actually a local kid.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 24 Arkansas State at Texas State Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It is not often we get a local transfer that started in some far flung destination, but that is what we have as today’s player.

Zac Tuinei - Fr. (RS)

Michigan City, IN (Noblesville HS)

6’, 240 pounds


2020 Projection: Reserve at linebacker

Tuinei is listed as being from Michigan City in his official Purdue bio, but he played his high school ball at Noblesville. He then decided to play last season at Arkansas State and his coach had the following to say:

“Zac is a highly passionate player and demonstrates high-level leadership abilities that only elevate his on-field talents. Zac has the ability to play a number of positions at a high level, which makes him a fantastic program player. I’m excited for him and his opportunity to play at Arkansas State. I feel confident that he will represent the “N” with toughness and attitude that will make the Noblesville community proud.”

Tuinei didn’t play much his senior year because of a broken foot, and he left Arkansas State after last season to walk on at Purdue. he does have experience in his family, however. A few years ago we saw his brother Lavasier Tuinei when he played at Oregon from 2009-12. His older brother had 10 TD catches in Oregon’s 2012 Rose Bowl winning season. His dad played in the NFL from 1997-2000 with the Chargers, Colts, and Bears.

Tuinei is a bit of a hybrid safety/linebacker, which should play well in the new 3-4 defense. Coach Brohm wanted him as a walk-on before he went to Arkansas State anyway, so he is a solid pickup.