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Gold and Black Illustrated Volume 28, Digital 5

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 5 22 D.J. Knox was corralled around the waist. And that should have been the end of it. Especially for a 5-foot-7 freshman on scout team. But Knox never learned how to relent. His parents didn't quite allow it, not in his responsibilities to his family, not in the classroom, not in the weight room and not on the football field. So, despite being held tightly, Knox's strong, powerful legs never stopped moving, and he broke free of the seemingly would-be tackle and finished a run down the side- line, to the praise of coaches. And, on the fourth practice of Knox's Purdue football career, a standard was set. Knox may not have burst onto the scene as a key offensive player in his first sea- son, but he looked every part a starting running back in attitude and effort on a daily basis. A year later, Purdue ended a two-hour, 20-period practice with a drill that required every player to line up like cover guys on a kickoff and, promptly, race down the field. Afterward, the running backs were directed to run again, sideline to sideline — so about 106 yards — and Knox, then actually the starting running back, was first every single time, running at game-type speed, with game-type focus and game-type determination. Two years later, when he wasn't able to practice or play while rehabbing an ACL injury, Knox still at- tacked practices in camp, in the only way he could: By giving maximum effort in the "pit," the area for injured players in practices ruled by members of the sports performance staff. Knox was rip- ping off chin-ups, dips, push-ups, whatever he could for his non-injured upper body. He worked too hard, even, testing himself to see how hard he could push, and had to miss the final days of camp to rest. Four years later, only a month ago in the fi- nal spring of his career, Knox was one of only a couple of healthy running backs in spring prac- tice, so it'd seem natural for him to pull back a bit, to keep his body at its peak and not risk injury. Except he can't pull back, and his full-throttle ways, along with overuse, meant he ended the spring on the sidelines after tweaking his knee. But how could he slow down? Knox is entering his fi- 'Renaissance Man' BY STACY CLARDIE Tom Campbell D.J. Knox has been productive on the field for Purdue, totaling nearly 1,300 career all-purpose yards, but his character and approach may be more valuable than any of those numbers. Knox's true value lies in multi-faceted leadership approach

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