Obviously the biggest news of the holiday weekend was the disappearance of Sean Matti, who is still missing as of this morning. We continue to pray for his safe return, but unfortunately the combination of missing + swimming + drinking = does not paint a favorable picture.
In the meantime, our countdown to Purdue Football continues with another similar player to Matti in walk-on senior defensive tackle Brad Niemeier.
Brad Niemeier - Sr.
Hometown: Evansville, IN (Mater Dei HS)
6'2", 274 pounds
2011 Projection: Reserve at Defensive Tackle
Niemeier has yet to see the field in his first three seasons at Purdue. He joined up as a walk-on in 2008 and redshirted. Last year he did not play at all. Like many players on this team, he is a smart kid. He was an All-State player in high school and was also an Academic All-State selection. This Hospitality and Tourism Management major was also twice a state champion in wrestling. This was in the team event, as Mater Dei is an Indiana state wrestling power. Mater Dei has won 12 team state championships and won nine in a row from 1995-2003. They won with Niemeier in 2006 and 2007.
In football he nearly won a third state championship. Evansville Mater Dei reached the semi-state (state semifinals for those outside of Indiana) in Class 3A in 2006 before losing to state power Indianapolis Chatard 35-7. That tells me he brings a winning attitude to the program even though he doesn't play. Mater Dei dropped down to Class 2A for his senior season, but he was still a first-team All State center on offense.
Niemeier looks like one of those players that could earn his way onto the field before his career is done. He had a plethora of high school honors, but chose to walk-on at Purdue. He seems like a kid willing to put in the hard work necessary of walk-ons. I could see him finding a niche on Special teams before all is said and done.