Today's featured players in the Kickoff Countdown manage to have a few things in common. They share the #36 Purdue football jersey and they are also both walk-on players for the Boilermakers. Being walk-ons, it is probably fitting that these guys have each had difficult paths towards earning even minute amounts of playing time in college.
But, another thing both of these players have in common is their work ethic. And yet another is that 2012 is a year of opportunity for each. With 36 days left until we see Purdue football again, we take a look at the linebacker Zack Heiniger and the kicker Robert Harris.
Robert Harris walked onto the team as a freshman in 2009. In high school, he was a three-year letter winner in both football and soccer at Columbia Central in Columbia, Tennessee. During his tenure so far at Purdue, Harris has unfortunately lived in the shadow of Carson Wiggs. So, being a backup walk-on kicker, Robert has not yet seen the field in his college career.
This season that might change. With Wiggs gone, there is allegedly an open competition at kicker. Harris has a fair shot to finally earn some playing time and kick field goals in the old gold and black. However, he will have a very tough time fighting off fellow walk-on Sam McCarthy, two star freshman recruit Thomas Meadows and three star freshman recruit (and presumed frontrunner for starting kicker) Paul Griggs.
No disrespect to Robert Harris or anything. But if he is on the field and kicking footballs around during games this year, it probably means one of two things, neither of which are any good--that either our recruits at kicker have seriously unimpressed or they are severely injured.
Follow Robert Harris on his Twitter handle, which I am assume mocks THE Ohio Junior College: @therobertharris.