Today's featured player in the Kickoff Countdown is a very interesting guy who would make for the subject of some great trivia questions because of his versatility. He was a three sport athlete in high school, he plays football and runs sprints in track and field at Purdue, he has been selected as an Academic All-Conference athlete in college and he also has some political experience, finishing second in the Purdue Student Body presidential election earlier this year.
All of these things combine to make Ishmael Aristide quite the intriguing character. He seems like he would be one of the most fun athletes to hang around and chat with. But, he also works very hard during the football season. And that is why he is today's subject of the Kickoff Countdown. Without further ado, let's look at the junior Wide Receiver, #22 Ishmael Aristide.
Ishmael Aristide - Jr. (RS)
Hometown: Orlando, FL (Maynard Evans HS)
5'11", 199 pounds
2012 Projection: Reserve at Wide Receiver
Ishmael Aristide is not a guy whom many Purdue fans know about. But he is a very distinguished individual for a couple of reasons. First of all, he was the first player to commit to Purdue's Class of 2009. He was a highly touted defensive back prospect out of Maynard Evans High School in Orlando, Florida before an injury cost him his senior year of ball. He was also a sprinter in high school, where was a state qualifier, and he played basketball. Basically this guy already showed that he is the total package while he was in high school. He is fast, athletic, intelligent and a hard-worker, and everyone should know it.
Though he suffered an injury to end his high school football career, that didn't stop Ishmael from securing a scholarship to Purdue and working hard at the college level. Which brings me to another thing I like about the guy. Each year since he began his career in West Laffie, Aristide slowly worked his way towards more playing time. After redshirting his freshman season, Ishmael appeared in six games as a reserve at Safety in 2010 and then appeared in 11 games as a reserve at Safety last year. He also earned Academic All-Big Ten honors last season--just something else to show how hard he has worked during his time for the Boilers.
And because of his work ethic, it would probably be safe to assume that entering this season, Aristide would be a contender for either of the open starting Safety positions. That is, until he was switched over to Wide Receiver this past offseason. I don't know if he just couldn't compete with the other guys at the position, if the coaches thought he could be better utilized on offense, or what. But, Ishmael is nonetheless officially a wideout starting this season.
Because he is new to the position and there's talent like O.J. Ross, Gary Bush, Antavian Edison and Raheem Mostert at the top of food chain, Aristide is slated to play a reserve role once again for his new position. So, it looks like Ishmael wouldn't see the field much this season, which is unfortunate given how hard this guy has seemingly worked to garner playing time and recover from past injuries.
But, somehow, the past always has a way of catching up to everyone. And #22 is no exception. Early reports from the first days of training camp say that Aristide suffered a knee injury last week. While Coach Hope commented that no one knows the severity of the injury, it looks like it isn't an ACL tear. That means Ishmael will be out to start the season, but he has hopes of getting back to full health and fighting for some playing time at WR before the season is over.
You always hate to see any player go down. But, when it's the hardest working guys who are fighting just to play some snaps, that's when it gets to you the most. I wish Ishmael Aristide a speedy recovery so he can get back to working hard and playing some football--two things which he seems to love.
If you have a Twitter account, go follow Ishmael on his handle at @Got_Ish now.