As spring practice wraps around the Big Ten, we're looking at one player on each team who experienced a recent breakthrough and looks to handle a significant role when football resumes in August.
Up next is Purdue, featuring a defender who likely locked up a starting position at an opportune moment in his career.
Spring breakout player: CB Da'Wan Hunte
The Boilermakers lost cornerbacks Frankie Williams and Anthony Brown, who made the position a strength over the past two seasons. And reinforcements are on the way. Purdue has recruited plenty of defensive backs to bid for their jobs. The class that signed in February included six players set to begin their careers in the secondary.
So if Hunte was going to make a move, this spring was the time. He did.
The fourth-year junior out of Miami was named the team's most improved defensive player of the spring. Hunte turned a corner in his progression after playing behind Williams and Brown last year, contributing 18 tackles with two sacks and a forced fumble.
Clearly, he learned a thing or two from the veteran cornerbacks.
His numbers figure to jump in 2016. Hunte appears in line to start opposite Tim Cason, a converted safety. Hunte was the first pick of the Gold team in the spring game draft and fared well in competition throughout March and April with DeAngelo Yancey, the Boilermakers' top receiving threat.
Perhaps all he needed to break through was the chance to earn a more playing time. At his current pace, Hunte is going to get it.