Like many Purdue fans, I get sentimental when I see the #15 jersey. #12 may have a longer history in the Cradle of Quarterbacks, but #15 was the number of Drew Brees. Brees may be the best member of the Cradle, with a Maxwell Award, a Rose Bowl appearance, and now a Super Bowl MVP to his credit. His number was so revered that no one on the team wore it until Shaun Phillips was forced to switch to it so he could be an eligible receiver in goal line situations. We have a pair of players wearing the #15 jersey this year, including one that may be a revered member of that Cradle of Quarterbacks one day.
Rob Henry - Fr. (RS)
Hometown: Ocala, FL (Trinity Catholic)
6'2", 198 pounds
2010 Projection: Reserve at quarterback
For a player that has yet to set foot on the field, I am surprised at how big of a fan of Rob Henry I am. He has drawn a ton of praise as "the fastest guy on the team" over the summer. There was talk of playing him on special teams just to get him on the field somewhere. He also showed his leadership skills by keeping the Florida portion of the 2009 recruiting class together. There have been complaints about his throwing motion, but this is a kid I have wanted to see for some time.
I think that Henry would be our starting quarterback in two weeks if Robert Marve had never transferred. As much as Caleb TerBush has improved, he doesn't have the running element that Henry has. In today's world of college football you need a quarterback that can make something out of nothing. TerBush is more of your traditional drop back passer. Word out of practice is that Henry is pushing TerBush hard for the #2 job. This is totally speculation on my part, but with Henry pushing him and both Sean Robinson and Russell Bellomy being quarterbacks that can run better, I don't know if there will be much of a place for TerBush. It's unfortunate, but TerBush is looking at one year as a starter at best now because of Marve. If Henry beats him for the #2 job that year might not even materialize.
I think you'll see Henry on the field at some time this year, even if it is only in the projected blowout of Western Illinois. He was a Mr. Florida Football finalist his senior year and threw for over 2,600 yards and 24 touchdowns. He's a natural athlete with an additional background in basketball and track. Trinity Catholic was state runner-up his senior year in a close game against Pahokee. Big games were his forte during his time at Trinity Catholic. He has shown a similar style to Marve, and that is why I give him an edge in the backup quarterback derby. The offense does not have to change as much should Henry be forced into action as compared to TerBush.
Charlton Williams - Jr.
Hometown: Tamarac, FL (Coral Glades HS)
6'2", 200 pounds
2010 Projection: Contributor in the secondary
At 6'2", Williams is big for a corner. That is why I hope he can play and emerge as an answer this year. He gives us a big corner to match against some of the big receivers we will face such as Michael Floyd and DeVier Posey. He is battling with Ricardo Allen, Josh Johnson, and Michael Eargle for one of the starting corner spots. Williams is also the most experienced of that group. He played as true freshman and had four tackles in 13 games. He redshirted in 2008, and saw time as a reserve in eight games last year. He had only three tackles, but wont he team's Most Improved Award for the defense in the spring. You can even buy his jersey from last year.
See, I am taking the opposite track from inexperience = bad in terms of our secondary. Last year, there was no question that Brandon king and David Pender were the starters at cornerback. They played the majority of the snaps all season long. Now that you have Allen, Eargle, Johnson, and Williams all pushing each other, they are making each other better. That gives us options to play so we can find favorable matchups depending on the opponent. Maybe Williams can matchup with Floyd, but Johnson is the better choice for Roy Roundtree. Maybe Allen and Eargle can handle Tandon Doss and Demarlo Belcher better. There is no absolute and resolute law that says we must play two and only two players in every game for every snap.
Williams is going to contribute this year. He is going to make our secondary better.