Normally there isn't a lot of football recruiting news this time of year. We're two months past National Signing Day and the next intense round of recruiting doesn't begin until the fall after the various camps during the summer. That said, Purdue added a surprise recruit to its 2011 class today when Matt Huene, a 6'6" 260 offensive tackle signed with the Boilermakers.
Huene is an odd case. He recently played on the freshman team at the Air Force Academy. I was unaware there still was such a thing as a freshman team, but according to GBI, the military academies have all-freshman squads that play against each other and junior colleges in lieu of redshirting. He started every game at left tackle in the heavily run-oriented attack, but it is considered like a year of prep school rather than a year of college. Therefore, Huene comes in with true freshman eligibility, meaning he can play four years out of the next five.
Huenne comes in with college experience, which is a plus over some of our other young linemen. At only 260 pounds he is undersized compared to his peers. Dennis Kelly, our current left tackle is 6'8" 291 pounds. Nick Mondek on the other side is 6'5" 283. Those number scream redshirt year if we can afford it.
He left Air Force because he didn't want to pursue a military career, thus prompting a second round of recruiting. West Virginia, Utah, North Carolina State, Iowa State, and Mississippi State. His dad played baseball at Purdue, so there is a legacy connection.
I found a few nice things on Huene. First, here is a highlight video:
Next, ESPN Chicago has a fine article about his high school days and recovering from injury:
Huene was really looking forward to last season's opener, as well, about this same time in August. A year ago, he was about to make his first varsity start and was expected to be a major part of Prospect's offensive success. But a week before the season opener, he was racing down Prospect's practice field in a special teams non-contact drill, attempted to cut around a teammate and tore the quadriceps tendon in his right knee.
"I was told they are injuries you see in 40-year-olds and usually it's a contact injury," Huene said. "I'm not sure how it happened."
The result was surgery and immobilization for six weeks. He missed the entire football season, and his coaches feared it could be worse as his recovery dragged on throughout the winter.
Here is an article from his original commitment to the Falcons.
This guy is going to have to be a hard worker to earn his way to the field, but with Kelly's graduation after this season there could be an open spot after a redshirt year. I can't find a recruiting profile on him via Rivals or Scout, so this is a virtually unranked guy. He likely takes the open scholarship spot left by Al-Terek McBurse's departure. Still, let's welcome him into the Purdue family.