FORT WAYNE – The honor caught Landon Feichter off guard.
I had to kind of double think if my name was called or not, the sophomore safety said last week after he was one of two people named Purdues defensive MVP. It took me by surprise.
But it feels good. It feels real good.
The Bishop Dwenger graduate leads the team with 76 tackles this season. He also has four interceptions, returning one for a touchdown. Feichter shared the defensive MVP honor with senior defensive tackle Kawann Short.
Feichter and the Boilermakers will participate in a bowl for the second straight year, facing Oklahoma State in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on New Years Day at Cotton Bowl Stadium.
Hes had a really big impact, Purdue cornerback Ricardo Allen said of Feichter. Hes a real humble guy, hes a hard worker and he goes hard. He studies film and he makes plays.
Feichters approach has also paid off in a scholarship. Still technically a walk-on, Feichter will be put on scholarship starting in the spring.
It was initially brought to my attention through coach (Danny) Hope before it was officially released through the team. He brought us together and told the team, Feichter said. Im just thankful for coach Hope. Hes the one who gave me the opportunity to come here and be a preferred walk-on and also the one that gave me the scholarship before he left. Hes a great man. I respect him a lot.
Just having that walk-on mentality (has helped). Coming in here, I didnt really have a name for myself. Not too many schools recruited me. Just remembering that and wanting to prove people wrong that I could play at a certain level like this. Thats what brought me to earn a scholarship.
Feichters four interceptions tied for first in the Big Ten Conference. The first interception of his career was a memorable one, as he returned it 34 yards for a touchdown Sept. 1 against Eastern Kentucky.
I still remember the feeling that I had when somehow the ball landed in my hands and I saw there was nobody really in front of me. That feeling is something I will never forget, Feichter said. But Im not satisfied with that kind of play. I want to make more of those plays throughout my career here at Purdue.
Feichter has had at least 10 tackles in a game three times, including a career-high 12 in a loss to Wisconsin. He earned a spot on the All-Big Ten honorable mention list.
The relationship Ive made with my teammates has helped me, Feichter said. Thats been most of my success, because of my teammates around me, putting me in the right position. Defensively, scheme-wise, putting me in the right position. The credit of my success this season ultimately is through my teammates and my coaches.
Heart of Dallas BowlPurdue vs. Oklahoma State
When: Noon, Jan. 1
Where: Cotton Bowl Stadium, Dallas