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52 Days to Purdue Football: Zac Tuinei

Is this the year he sees the field?

Syndication: HawkCentral Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

Today’s player has one of the strangest bios you will see on the roster.

Zac Tuinei - Jr.

Michigan City, IN (Noblesville HS)

6’, 245 pounds

Running Back

2022 Projection: Reserve

It seems Tuinei has been everywhere. His hometown is listed as Michigan City, but he attended Noblesville HS, which is not exactly near Michigan City. He then started his college career at Arkansas State as a safety on a blue shirt deal. Here is a great explanation on what that means:

Blueshirting wasn’t used until recently, and it still isn’t common, but it’s essentially another loophole to get around oversigning.

The blueshirt rule allows schools to put “unrecruited” athletes on scholarship once they arrive on campus, but count them against the next year’s scholarship total, as long as they don’t play. Here’s what it means to be “recruited,” according to the NCAA:

Was provided an official visit to the campus;

Had arranged, in-person, off-campus contact with a coach; or

Was sent an NLI or other written scholarship offer.

Coaches can contact players and have them on campus for unofficial visits — when the recruits pay their ways — without technically recruiting them. Essentially, as long as a recruit doesn’t take an official visit or host one of that school’s coaches, he wasn’t “recruited” by that school.

He practiced in 2019, then came to Purdue, where he did not play in 2020. He saw some limited action last season on defense, but this year he is on the move again. He is now a running back, and at 6’, 245 he is a BIG running back.

Tuinei’s family has quite a football history. His brother Lavasier had a great career at Oregon and helped them win the Rose Bowl (as Rose Bowl MVP no less) in 2012 before having a solid career in the CFL. His dad played in the NFL for the Chargers, Colts, and Bears.