STATE COLLEGE, PA - OCTOBER 15: O.J. Ross #4 of the Purdue Boilermakers celebrates his touchdown against the Penn State Nittany Lions during the game on October 15, 2011 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. The Nittany Lions defeated the Boilermakers 23-18. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Man, a lot of stuff seems to be going on around Purdue's campus right now. But after hearing the news about Dwayne Beckford's overnight arrest, I'm really not excited about all of the things I see or hear. According to a report by the IndyStar, Beckford (who was already on his last strike with the football team) was charged last night with "possession of paraphernalia and possession of a synthetic drug", which counts as a Class D felony since he is now a repeat offender in that category. Apparently that whole suspension and reinstatement thing he went through had no effect on his character. This is now Dwayne's third arrest since August of last year!
I really am disappointed in Beckford. He acted out of stupidity and selfishness and he is going to pay the price for it. But, what really upsets me is that #3 will probably never wear a Purdue helmet again. Dwayne has been suspended indefinitely, which the fifth year senior will probably be cut from the team soon. And seeing as he was one of the best pieces to a defensive unit that hopes to carry the Boilermakers to another bowl game, losing Dwayne is already a huge hit to trying to accomplish our goals this season.
Anyways, before I get too angry, let's turn to the Kickoff Countdown. With four days left until the first football game in West Lafayette, one of today's featured players is a guy who, like Beckford, was suspended and reinstated to the team in the offseason, but for different and supposedly less heinous reasons. And he actually seems to be doing just fine. Junior receiver O.J. Ross looks to come back to the Purdue football team in style and have a huge season this fall. The other guy we are examining is sophomore Safety Taylor Richards, who also hopes to have a great season as he eases into his new starting role at Free Safety.
In the wake of this breaking news about Dwayne Beckford's most recent arrest, it is important to mention O.J. Ross's name beside his for comparison. Both players were suspended from the team during the bowl game late last season, then dropped from their scholarships and had to work their ways back to being reinstated, both on the team and academically. But while Beckford had straight-up accrued another run-in with the law and a second strike from Coach Hope after his OWI charge back in December, the reasons behind Ross's suspension, removal from scholarship and later reinstatement were less clear.
All anyone knows is that it was due to "breaking undisclosed team policies and rules", with Ross having "academic related issues." So, whatever might be the case for O.J., it seems that his problems have been resolved and he has his full attention now placed on the upcoming season. For Beckford, however, clearly his focus was not kept on football and it is likely we will never again see him put on a helmet with the the Block P logo on the side.
Turning our attention back to Ross, it looks like #4 could have a fantastic, breakthrough season for the Boilermakers. O.J. is now the #2 receiver behind Antavian Edison, he is a favorite target for all three of our healthy former-starting QBs, and he looks primed to build on his successful sophomore campaign last year--where Ross caught 33 passes for 356 yards and 3 TDs in 12 appearances and 10 starts as the #3 (slot) receiver.
O.J. definitely has all the skills to significantly improve his game and produce even bigger numbers for the Purdue offense. He is one of the fastest guys on the team, he has great hands and body control in traffic and he is also one of the best route-runners on the team.
There isn't enough great things you can say about the guy. He is arguably our best, most solid option at WR and he has the potential to develop into even better of a football player. At the very least, Ross has the potential to have a spectacular season in 2012.