Dependability Vaults Walk-On Receiver Andrew Sowinski Into More Playing Time for Purdue: 'He's Just a Guy We Trust'

[Sports Illustrated] Dependability Vaults Walk-On Receiver Andrew Sowinski Into More Playing Time for Purdue: 'He's Just a Guy We Trust'

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue wide receiver Andrew Sowinski had no Division I offers coming out of high school, but when the opportunity presented itself to walk on with an in-state college football program, he felt it would be the best fit. 

The Indianapolis native joined the Boilermakers ahead of the 2020 season after leading Bishop Chatard High School to a Class 3A state championship. As a senior, Sowinski recorded 64 catches for 1,055 yards and 22 touchdowns.

For players that aren't on scholarship, it usually takes venturing down an arduous road before a chance to see the field is fully realized. But Sowinski has embraced the challenge, put in the work and is finally seeing his efforts being rewarded during his third season with the team. 

"Last year and the beginning of this year, I got to play some special teams and contribute that way," Sowinski said. "But this year, they just needed me to fill in, help out with certain things. So when my number was called, I tried to be ready to go and help out the team how I can."

Sep 17, 2022; Syracuse, New York, USA; Purdue Boilermakers wide receiver Andrew Sowinski (29) warms up before a game against the Syracuse Orange at JMA Wireless Dome.

© Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

After not playing in his freshman year, Sowinski appeared in seven games last season, primarily on special teams. He hauled in the first passes of his college career in a 49-0 shutout over UConn on Sept. 11, 2021, finishing with a pair of catches for 15 yards. At the end of the season, he was named an Academic All-Big Ten selection. 

But as his knowledge of Purdue's complex offense scheme grew, Sowinski has become a dependable asset in 2022 and is now seeing more playing time in recent weeks. 

"Andrew has done a really good job. He's been here for quite a while. He understands our scheme and system as good as anybody," Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said. "You can count on him to run the right route at the right depth every single time and give you great effort. He has got good hands."

Brohm was hesitant to make a direct comparison to former Boilermaker wide receiver Jackson Anthrop, but the two are beginning to share intangible similarities. Anthrop made an impact with his knowledge of the playbook, versatility and reliability in his seven years at Purdue. 

"I learned a lot from Jackson just in being a good teammate and just being ready," Sowinski said. "He was always ready and when his number was called, he always went out and made a play. So I definitely did learn a lot, and I looked up to him a lot when he was here." 

Sowinski made his first appearance of the 2022 season in a 31-29 road victory over Maryland, bringing in one catch for seven yards. The 6-foot, 195-pound receiver saw an even bigger role in the team's win over Nebraska last week. 

He aided Purdue in extending its winning streak to four games by catching four passes for 34 yards, which included a third-down grab to move the chains that would lead to a 34-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. The score gave the team a 37-30 lead with 10 minutes left to play.  

"I think he's just a guy we trust," Brohm said. "We have a lot of young receivers that have some talent. There's probably one or two we've been unfair to by making them play multiple positions because we didn't know where they would play, and because of it, sometimes there are some mental busts. While they may seem small, during the course of a game they can be costly." 

Sowinski will continue to improve as Purdue moves forward through the second half of the season. He's a player that is flying under the radar due to his lack of previous game experience but is now someone the team can count on whenever he steps onto the field. 

"So he just, in that slot position, has a great understanding of what we're trying to do," Brohm said. "In the right spot at the right time, and that has vaulted him up to getting quite a bit of playing time."

Sowinski and the Boilermakers will be back in action Saturday for a road matchup against the Wisconsin Badgers. The game is scheduled to kick off at 3:30 p.m. ET inside Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisc. 

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