Antonio Stevens, a three-star safety from Battle Ground Academy, has made a verbal commitment to play football at Purdue University.
“After the first visit I was really excited about Purdue, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to fit into the program,” Stevens, a rising senior at BGA, said. “After my second visit, I was just praying. I woke up one morning and I felt at ease. At that point, I knew that Purdue was the place for me, so I made it official.”
The 6-2, 185-pound safety will be looking to compete for a starting spot when he arrives to Purdue. Thanks to his size and Purdue’s graduating seniors, Stevens will be stepping into a dogfight for the starting job.
“[Purdue safeties coach Anthony Poindexter] has made it clear that he’s going to let me compete for that spot,” Stevens said.
Before going to Purdue, Stevens will focus his attention on a more immediate goal: winning a state championship.
After a crushing 41-21 loss to Christ Presbyterian Academy in the 2018 Division II-AA state championship, Stevens and the Wildcats are ultra-motivated.
The Wildcats will take on CPA again during the regular season for a rematch, but for Stevens, it’s a revenge game. He said he definitely has that date marked in his calendar.
“Everyone’s been doing something a little extra,” he said. “Whether it be an extra sprint, and extra rep, it’s all about one goal and that is to get back there and win a state championship, period.”
A cerebral player, Stevens’ favorite part of the game is watching film and dissecting another team. He acquired his knack for studying game tape after spending most of his childhood watching tape with his grandad, former Alabama A&M football head coach Kenneth Pettiford.
“The best part is getting to the game after studying film all week, then being able to read the offense and blow up plays,” Stevens said. “It means all my hard work has paid off.”
He also attributed his incomparable work ethic and drive to his mother, Katrese Pettiford.
“Being a single mother my whole life, she’s molded me into the person I am,” Stevens said. “She’s always there for me. My mom is definitely my hero.”
The Franklin native will head to Indiana to round out head coach Jeff Brohm’s nine-man recruiting class. The verbal commit ties Stevens to Purdue, but he won’t be able to sign with the Boilermakers until Dec. 18 during the early signing day. He could also wait until the Feb. 5 signing day.