Another new year begins for Purdue students and Purdue athletics. Today is an exciting day as campus is once again alive with new and returning students. Coincidentally, we have another double-profile today featuring a returning senior, who will be looking for playing time, and a new freshmen who has the potential to have an outstanding career here at Purdue. The first player we will be looking is one of our senior wide receivers.
Tommie Thomas - Sr.
Hometown: Robbins, Ill. (Richards HS)
6'1" 195 pounds
2012 projection: Contributor at wide receiver
Thomas' first few years have included a position switch from defensive back to wide receiver, sitting in on games as a reserve, and then finally getting his name called to play in a game yet did not record a statistic. His situation is definitely one that every athlete fears could happen to them, but Thomas hasn't given up on his football career and is still a dedicated member to this team.
Tommie and Antavian Edison are the lone seniors on our receiving core, and it looks like this could finally be the year where Thomas will do a little more than just stand on the sideline. With Edison, Gary Bush, and O.J. Ross being the set starters, Thomas could work his way into a backup position and come in when someone is tired or if we go into a 4 receiver set.
Thomas is also heavily involved and enjoys working with the Special Olympics. Seeing athletes that volunteer their time with things like that are a great inspiration and role model. I hope the best for Thomas and we'll see if this is the year where he has the chance to contribute to the team.
Our second player is a freshmen quarterback who came to Purdue as the number one ranked QB from Ohio by ohiovarsity.com. Appleby is praised for his presence in the pocket, and has a Ben Roethlisberger like frame. However, a red-flag has to be waived when looking at the kid because of an ACL tear he suffered in high school. Appleby made a quick recovery and seems to be on track to be a difference maker for this Purdue team in the near future.
Austin Appleby - Fr.
Hometown: North Canton, OH (North Canton Hoover)
6'5" 235 pounds
2012 projection: red-shirt
There is a lot of promise when it comes to Appleby. One of the best things is that he already has a body for college football. He towers at 6'5" and his weight makes it difficult to bring him down. Appleby attended the Elite 11 quarterbacks camp in Malibu, California; which is held for the best quarterback recruits in the nation. He also spent a summer working with former NFL QB, and now QB instructor, Jim Ballard. Ballard is known for working with NFL QBs and has worked with Cam Newton and Roethlisberger. Seeing one of our new guys put in this kind of work definitely gets me excited.
His work ethic has been praised by people all over the nation, including Ballard. It showed after he came back from the ACL injury and threw for 1,417 yards and 8 touchdowns. Before he injured his knee junior year, he was having a fantastic season with 1,427 yards and 14 touchdowns; he accomplished this in seven games.
Appleby looks like he could be an NFL prospect with his style of play, frame, and the praises he has received. This guy is definitely someone to be excited about. It will be fun to watch him grow and take the field when he is finally ready.