Levine, 23, moved to North Carolina before high school. Since then he starred at R.J. Reynolds High School (Winston-Salem, N.C.) in both football and track, and played a standout football career at Tennessee State. The highlight of his post-Abbeville life came last May when Levine signed a rookie free-agent contract with the Green Bay Packers.
“I was proud of that,” Levine said. “I appreciated them giving me a chance.”
Levine, a defensive back, spent the 2010 season on the Packers’ practice squad, making the most of his opportunity to work against Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings and Co.
“Everyday I went to practice and worked hard,” Levine said. “I knew going against guys like Greg Jennings, Donald Driver and James Jones, it would only make me better.
Things couldn’t have been better for the Packers on Feb. 6, when the defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers for their fourth Super Bowl title. Levine was present with his teammates in Dallas that night.
“It was amazing,” Levine said. “I can’t even describe it.”
Levine was back in Green Bay for the team’s celebration at legendary Lambeau Field.
“We have some of the best fans,” Levine said. “It can be 20 below and they will be out there with their shirts off screaming and hollering.”
Levine has had successes and been many places since leaving Abbeville, but he said he has never forgot where he came from. He returned this week to his birthplace as part of the Super Bowl Champions. Abbeville Mayor Mark Piazza honored Levine Thursday with a key to the city.
“It feels good to come back,” Levine said. “It feels good want to meet you and things like (being honored) are humbling.”
Personal attention is not Levine’s goal, though.
“I want to help others and be a role model,” he said. “That’s what I like to do.”
He still has plenty of fans in Abbeville, including his sister, Alisio Levine, 19, the reining Miss Abbeville.
“I’m very proud of him,” she said. “He’s my favorite player.”
Levine said his favorite player growing up was Deion Sanders. Charles Woodson was another. Levine go to watch the 13-year veteran and future Hall of Famer at practice.
“I was like ‘man, that’s Charles Woodson,’” Levine said. “I never met a guy like Charles Woodson. He’s so smart and he doesn’t take anything for granted.
Woodson had some advice for the young player.
“I wanted to leave and try to find a place where I could play,” Levine said. “He told me, ‘you’re time is going to come.’
“He told me I have a bright future and a lot of players have started careers in the exact spot I’m in.”
That has stayed with Levine. He said he plans to be with the Packers next season and plans to work as hard as he needs to find a spot on the active roster.
“This is my dream,” Levine said. “I’ve always worked hard to fulfill my dreams. In high school I said I wanted to win a state title before I graduated and we won a state track title. I wanted to play college football and I did that.
“I’m going to do whatever I can to make this dream work.”