Today marks 89 days until the Purdue football season kickoff. And with the way jersey numbers work, our countdown has yet to see a lot of variety when it comes to looking at guys who play different positions. Sadly, this is the way things work. All of last week, we looked at defensive lineman, whose numbers typically fall in the 90s. Once we get very close to kickoff, we will looking mostly at quarterbacks, who always don jerseys with numbers below 20. And now that we are on jersey number 89 today, you might be expecting a change of pace as we look at a wide receiver?
False. Today we examine yet another big headhunter among our defense's front seven. And we will continue to do so variously throughout the next two weeks; we have yet to profile the likes of Robert Maci, Brandon Taylor, Eric Mebane and other large aggressors with attitude. As a member of this group of meanies, don't let Jalani Phillips' jersey number fool you. This isn't some skeketon, prima donna wide out who avoids hits like the plague. #89 certainly packs a punch and will hope to showcase his ferocious skills on a grand scale during his sophomore year in 2012.
Jalani Phillips - So.
Hometown: Warner Robbins, GA (Houston County HS)
6'4", 255 pounds
2012 projection: Backup at Defensive End, contributor on Special Teams, possible contributor at Linebacker
Jalani Phillips had a quiet freshman season at Purdue. Although he wasn't redshirted during his first year, he spent his initial round of college ball as a reserve. However, he did make some good accomplishments in 2011. While only appearing briefly in five games for the Boilermakers last season, Phillips still managed to record two solo tackles on the year--including one in the Little Caeser's Pizza Bowl.
Now coming upon his sophomore campaign, Phillips will look to have a larger role on the Purdue defense in 2012. Luckily for #89, he is a "tweener" when it comes to his size. At 6'4" and 255 pounds, Jalani is listed as both a Linebacker and a Defensive End in some reports and he could accrue some serious time at both positions this season. Some editions of the 2012 football roster and depth chart even have Phillips listed as a backup Defensive End to Ryan Russell for this year. Whether these reports turn out to be true or not, expect a certain Jalani Phillips to make an impact within both the DE and LB rotations and on special teams in his second season.