I thank God that our next profiled player, even though he was one of our highest in-state targets, didn't do the Lebron song and dance when he decided to come to Purdue. He quietly announced his intentions early, then went out to play his senior season. Being so close to home, I feel like I already know him too. He signed on early enough to be a regular feature on the tracking sheet last fall.
Joe Gilliam - Fr.
Hometown: Indianapolis, IN (Southport HS)
6'2", 205 pounds
2010 projection: likely redshirt.
Gilliam will be a good fit at Purdue.
I feel like Joe is the type of guy, like Kawann Short, that we can stash away for a year as he puts on weight and adjusts to college ball. From there he can make a big impact. We are loaded at the linebacker position for once. Jason Werner has another year to play. Antwon Higgs came on last year. Joe Holland and Chris Carlino are good players. Will Lucas could be a breakout freshman. I could even see Holland moving back to his natural position of safety because of our depth.
Gilliam will probably sit this year, and I am fine with that. What I like about him is that he has already been part of a program turnaround. From 2004-07 Southport high went a sad 3-37. From 1996 until 2008 they never won more than three games in a single season. Gilliam's junior of 2008 was a breakout though. The Cardinals went 9-2 and surprisingly won their conference. He amassed 80, 96, and 90 tackles in his past three seasons at the high school level to help Southport make that jumps. He is the type of linebacker that is always near the ball. Those are the instincts we need. He also was a basketball player, and you know how I love basketball players that play football.
It really is amazing to see what he has accomplished at Southport. According to Indy Sports Nation, he is the first Southport player in 20 years to move on to Division 1. Of course, Purdue has had success with Southport athletes of late. Cameron Perkins just finished a strong freshman season for the baseball team.