Purdue's football commitments are coming fast and furious, which is a bit of a surprise consider we don't have a lot of scholarships available for this class. We have already added a quarterback (which may have had something to do with Najee Tyler transferring), a running back, and a tight end. Last night saw the commitment of a pair of defensive linesmen who are both unranked at the moment, but show a lot of promise. Michael Rouse III is a hulking 6'4" 300 pound defensive tackle from Illinois, while Randy Gregory is our first in-state commitment in this class as a 6'4" defensive end from Hamilton Southeastern.
Let's look at Gregory first, as he is a player local fans will likely get to see this year. Since I do a lot of work for the Zionsville Times-Sentinel I just marked September 11 on my schedule. That is the day of Purdue's home opener, but if I can make it back to Indianapolis by 4:30 I can likely cover Zionsville's game at Lucas Oil Stadium against Hamilton Southeastern and see Gregory in person. Given that Miami plays at Ohio State that night and Mrs. T-Mill will be looking for Hurricanes' vengeance, it should be a good day of football.
Gregory comes to us from the same high school as former kicker/punter Chris Summers and current linebacker Chris Carlino. He had a good season last year in one of Indiana's toughest football conferences. HSE was the Hoosier Crossroads Conference champion with an 8-1 regular season record, losing only to rival Fishers for the first time since Fishers split off from HSE in 2006. They won a pair of state tournament games before dropping the sectional final 17-9 against Carmel. Carmel was eventually the class 5A state runner-up.
Gregory knows how to get to the quarterback.
Hamilton Southeastern's defense was one of the best in the state, especially considering the level of competition. They gave up 10 points or more in only three games: the 10-6 loss to Fishers, a 41-20 win over Brownsburg, and the loss to Carmel. In one strange shutout they beat Lafayette Harrison 4-0, as the game was played in deplorable weather conditions and HSE could only manage a pair of safeties. Gregory finished the year with 92 tackles and 15 sacks, while catching an 18 yard pass for a touchdown against Westfield. Only Taylor Halstead of Fishers had more sacks in the state.
Again, this was against very good competition. Brownsburg was a sectional champion that gave eventual state champion Warren Central a great game in the regional. Fishers shared the conference crown with them, losing only to a very good Zionsville team. Since the Hoosier Crossroads Conference is a 10 team league it means there are no non-conference games for its schools in the nine game Indiana regular season. They have to be on every week if they want to win a conference title. It is also a strong league, probably second only to the MIC which contains state powers Carmel, Warren Central, Ben Davis, and Center Grove. Since HSE plays in the same sectional as Carmel he has the best competition possible to play against in Indiana. He, along with the incoming Charles Torwudzo, was named all-conference last season.
Local fans in Lafayette will have a few opportunities to see him as well. HSE plays at McCutcheon on October 15th and could play at any of the big three Lafayette schools in the sectional.
One of the things I like about Gregory is the list of schools he was considering. Vanderbilt was on his list, as was Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Vanderbilt shows that academics was a consideration, while the other Big Ten schools show he is a good player. This is what we want: smart players who are not afraid of academics and can clearly play for most any team in this league. He could probably use more weight to play at Purdue, but his stats show that he can definitely get to the quarterback.
Then there is Michael Rouse III. Our run defense has sucked for years, so a giant, hole plugging defensive tackle seems to be just what the doctor ordered. He comes from Homewood-Flossmoor High up in the Chicago suburbs. He was only considering Michigan and Illinois as well as Purdue. GBI has drawn comparisons to Bruce Gaston for Rouse, which is good because Gaston might be able to play immediately at a position of need this season. Rouse is another smart kid with a 3.2 GPA.
MaxPreps also lists him as a basketball player, and you know how I love defensive linesmen who also play basketball. This is out of the same mold that Kawann Short came from at East Chicago with some guy named E'Twaun Moore. In football I couldn't find any stats for him, but H-F struggled to a bad 1-8 season last year. Their only win came in the season's final game against Joliet.
While Rouse could possibly move to the offensive line, Purdue got him for defense. I love his attitude in the following quote according to GBI:
"I have a very strong desire on defense," Rouse said. "Hitting is something I love to do. Destroying quarterbacks and running backs is a pretty high priority on my list."