Today in the Kickoff Countdown, we feature two of the many different signal callers donning the old gold and black this season. These two guys are both very unique athletes, yet they really couldn't be less similar. On the one hand you have a redshirt senior who is a team captain and the incumbent starter. On the other you have an incoming freshman who is certain to get the redshirt this year.
Without getting myself involved in a trivia session about these guys, I am glad to say that with only 19 days left until Purdue football begins once again, today we look at both of the #19 players on the current roster: Caleb TerBush and Aloyis Gray.
Caleb TerBush - Sr. (RS)
Hometown: Metamora, IL (Metamora Township HS)
6'5", 225 pounds
2012 Projection: Starter at Quarterback
To be frank, Caleb TerBush is the big man on campus in West Lafayette entering this season. He is carrying a ton of momentum from an impressive 2011 season straight into 2012. Multiple reports that came out spring and summer workouts have claimed that TerBush has really improved his game from last season. If this is true, it is no wonder that he is slated to be the starting quarterback once again this year, even with facing fierce competition from former starters Robert Marve and Rob Henry--both of whom are back to full health.
Last year, Caleb started all 13 games for the Boilermakers. His stat sheet was quite impressive, considering he saw limited action as a reserve in one eligible season before 2011. He was an accurate and efficient passer most of the time, and he also managed to pass for nearly 2000 yards, even though Danny Hope made solid use of both TerBush and Marve in tandem during most games. #19 also showed his great mobility skills last season, running for 83 carries, 219 yards and a touchdown.
As we draw closer to another football season, there are reports floating about that Caleb has drastically improved aspects of his game that plagued him in the past: his throwing mechanics, footwork, throwing accuracy and decision making in the pocket. If these changes come to fruition, they will certainly show themselves in TerBush's stat sheet this year. Look for #19 to post a higher completion percentage and passer rating this year, along with less turnovers.
This really is Caleb TerBush's team in 2012. He is a team captain this year and he has honed an already great set of skills at the QB position. He may not post eye-popping yardage and touchdown totals--Coach Hope has been very vocal about granting significant playing time to both Marve and Henry as well this year--but it sounds like he is primed to have a very successful year. It will be interesting to see just how much playing time he is given under center over the other two contributing QBs. But, in my opinion, he is the best quarterback we have, and in an ideal world he should be given most of the snaps this year and thrive in nearly every situation, in every game. He seems ready to lead this team to even greater heights than last year, and I wish him the best of luck in attempting to do just that.
While 2012 isn't certain to be ideal for him or the rest of the Boilermakers, keep a close eye fixed on Caleb TerBush. That #19 seems ready for a breakout performance, or several, in his senior campaign.
Give primary signal caller Caleb TerBush a follow on Twitter at his handle: @1terbush9.
Aloyis Gray - Fr.
Hometown: Indianapolis, IN (Pike HS)
6'4", 185 pounds
2012 Projection: Likely redshirt
I think Aloyis Gray is one of the most interesting players on the entire 2012 Purdue football roster. He will begin his college career this fall as a true freshman after having one heck of a high school career at Pike in Indy.
Without even studying him for very long, it isn't tough to see that Gray is incredibly athletic. He was recruited for college ball as both a quarterback and a receiver. In high school he played QB in his sophomore and senior seasons, but he played WR in his junior year. All in all, his high school totals came to 1995 passing yards, 685 rushing yards, 11 passing touchdowns, 7 rushing TDs, 36 receptions, 615 receiving yards and 5 receiving TDs. Now that is a well-rounded stat sheet, if I've ever seen one.
As a QB recruit in high school, Aloyis was rated as a three star prospect. He chose Purdue last year over schools like Akron, Cincinnati, Illinois and Indiana. Something else I like about Gray is the character you can see in his choice. While many athletes delay there decision on a major for along time, Aloyis has already committed to majoring psychology, and what's more, he lists his interests on purduesports.com as reading and technical theatre. As I said before, the kid sounds like an interesting, well-rounded individual.
But now as we look at where Aloyis falls within the QB position over the next few years, things don't bode too well for him. He is very athletic, but he is very skinny at 6'4", 185. Long-term durability is clearly a certain at his current size. Also, since he shares jersey numbers with Caleb TerBush, he is guaranteed to get the redshirt this year, which is no big deal. But, Purdue currently has 8 healthy quarterbacks active on the 2012 roster and Gray is on the bottom half of that list in terms of pecking order. He will also have to compete with talent like Austin Appleby and Danny Etling during his Purdue football career, which will make his chances to earn playing time all the more difficult.
And then, there's the fact that Aloyis is a scrambling quarterback in a spread offense at Purdue. Don't get me wrong. It worked for Rob Henry in 2010, but there is a reason why Henry is now the odd man out at the QB position this year, and I don't think its his athleticism or his running abilities. If Gray really wants to succeed as a quarterback in Purdue's system, he must learn to stand in the pocket more often and be a much better true passer than what his high school tape shows.
What may end up happening to Mr. Gray after his redshirt is complete come next summer is that he makes a switch to wide receiver. All things considered, it wouldn't be a bad move on his part. He has the size and skills to excel there, and he might find it a bit easier to garner playing time at wideout rather than try to compete with a couple of guys who could very well be the next members of the Cradle in Appleby and Etling.
But, if Gray chooses to stay at QB, perhaps he can use this next year to improve his passing game and tack on some more mass. If he wants to make a difference playing quarterback at Purdue, he should be thinking about doing those things.
For future reference, you can find Aloyis Gray on Twitter at his handle @xtremeg10. So, go give him a follow. Who knows? He might just be a future member of the Cradle. Or he could end up catching passes from a Cradle member or two.