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11 Days to Purdue Football: Antonio Stevens

The talented defensive back from Nashville, TN looks to return back to the impressive form he showed as a true freshman.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 31 Purdue at Illinois Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Antonio Stevens - RS Junior

Nashville, Tennessee (Battle Ground Academy)

Defensive Back

6’2 - 220lbs

2023 Projection: Starter or Primary Reserve

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 01 Penn State at Purdue Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With just eleven days left to Purdue Football we focus on a player who is both a known and an unknown commodity in the defensive backfield for the Boilers. Antonio Stevens, who came to Purdue from Nashville, Tennessee as a well thought of three star safety out of high school (48th rated Safety per Rivals) and played in five games as a true freshman in 2020. It was in that freshman season that Stevens suffered a severe knee injury that ended up costing him all of 2021 and a large portion of 2022 as he dealt with the recovery and soreness. It seems as though the injury is past him now as he has been a participant in spring and fall camp for the Boilers.

Stevens is a blend of size and speed in the backfield that has, at times, been less than physical in at the safety position. Over the past two seasons, the Boiler secondary has given up explosive plays due to blown coverages and an inability to make tackles. Stevens is a sure tackler and athletic enough to matchup with many wide receivers while also being big enough to do so against most tight ends. In Ryan Walters’ first defense, Stevens may find a home alongside veterans Cam Allen and Sanoussi Kane but needs to battle for snaps with impressive freshman Winston Berglund and Dillon Thieneman.

At worst, Stevens provides a veteran presence at a position that has likely seen the biggest flip in talent since Ryan Walters set foot on campus and his perspective in dealing with injury along with a charasmatic personality will be a positive for the entire team. At best, Stevens is a guy who may have NFL type talent and can be a starter for the Boilers.