Purdue has long been known as the Den of Defensive Ends due to our uncanny ability to generate NFL-caliber pass-rushers. While Ryan Russell is accepted as "next" in this area, he could be overshadowed by today's featured player.
Jalani Phillips - Jr.
Warner Robbins, Georgia (Houston County HS)
6'4" 260 pounds
2013 Projection: Possible starter at defensive end
Phillips came to Purdue early, enrolling in the spring of 2011 which allowed him an early year of spring practice. That led to some light work in the 2011 season where he collected two tackles as a reserve. As a sophomore in 2012 he played a bigger role, getting in all 13 games and collecting 23 tackles, 4.5 loss, and a pair of sacks. He also recovered a fumble.
Phillips very well could start on the opposite side of the line from Russell in 2013. Greg Latta, mentioned as Saturday's featured player, is vying for the same position. Ryan Isaac is also in the running for that spot, but Phillips and Latta will still very likely rotate in regardless.
At 6'4" 260 pounds Phillips has the size to be a good speed rusher, especially if teams are concentrating on Russell at the other end. His sacks last year came against Iowa and Minnesota, so it is not like he brought down the Eastern Kentucky QB twice late in last year's blowout.
Wherever he plays, Phillips was a key player in term of depth last season and much the same is expected from him in 2013.