WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Size has never been a handicap for Donald Winston, a versatile freshman who seems to get smaller and smaller as his football potential escalates at Purdue.
A two-time All-State running back at Indianapolis Scecina High School, where he supposedly was 5-foot-8 and 160 pounds, Winston was listed at 5-7 and 150 pounds in the Boilermakers preseason media guide.
Coach Jim Colletto says it’s more like 5-6. And he’d have to be carrying weights to hit 150.
“He’s not going to walk out and scare you to death,” Colletto said of Winston, a high school Mr. Football finalist last fall who could wind up playing this year at wide receiver or punt returner for the Boilermakers.
“He’s hard to catch, a real dart-around guy. If we get him far enough along where he’s comfortable enough doing that, he will have a chance doing all those things,” Colletto said.
Last week, when temperatures hit the 90s, Winston’s weight dipped from 145 pounds to 136 after one exhausting workout, Colletto said.
“He went from a featherweight to a flyweight,” he said. “He was worn out, but he’s a good little player. He’s fast. He can jump to the moon. It’s hard to throw it over his head. He’s a dangerous guy, and he’s a fun guy. He works real hard. He’s going to be a factor. He’s going to be a player.”
In track, Winston was the 1995 state high jump champion at Scecina with a leap of 7 feet. He also played basketball and was named All-State in football twice for rushing for 1,988 yards and 24 touchdowns as a junior and 1,501 yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior. His 4,423 career yards are a Scecina record and 15th-best all-time statewide.
“I feel my athleticism can help the team because I can catch the ball, I can run the ball, I can catch punts, kickoffs, it don’t matter,” said Winston, who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds. “I’m an athlete.”