Day 86 of our countdown to kickoff brings us to one of Danny Hope's favorite players, Gabe Holmes.
Gabe Holmes - Sr.
Hometown: Miramar, FL (Saint Thomas Aquinas)
6'5", 247 pounds
2013 Projection: Starter at Tight End
It seems every year we enter the season saying this is when Gabe Holmes finally breaks out. Former coach Danny Hope was once quoted as saying, "The sky's the limit for Gabe Holmes" and that he had the potential to be a special player, comparing his ceiling to something most tight ends at the NFL combine couldn't match. Coming out of one of the top football high schools in the country as a tall, athletic tight end leads many to place high expectations on your shoulders, something Holmes has faced since Day 1 on campus. He was part of Hope's 2009 class that was billed as bringing the Florida swagger to Indiana. However up until now, his production has been underwhelming, reeling in 25 catches for 158 yards and two touchdowns to go along with a plethora of drops during last year's campaign. He has started games in each of the last 3 seasons, but has yet to record a catch over 25 yards and sits at 6.3 YPC.
But all that aside, I'm going to hop on the Gabe Holmes Breakout Bandwagon again. After the graduation of Crosby Wright, Holmes is now option 1A at the tight end position. In Purdue's spring game this year, Holmes led all receivers with four catches for 74 yards, showing a knack for the big(ger) play that he hasn't shown in the past. Holmes will need to develop into a reliable target and safety valve for Purdue's offense if the team hopes to reach bowl eligibility, especially with the possibility of a young quarterback like Danny Etling behind center. Holmes has the size and potential to be one of the top tight ends in the conference and a new offense with more focus on the tight ends should benefit him. Now it's simply a matter of putting it all together.
As we have the past 3 years, Purdue fans enter the season waiting for the Gabe Holmes we've all been hearing about. This is the year we see the man Danny Hope envisioned.
Holmes is studying organizational leadership and supervision and his father, Walter, was a long jumper for the USA at the 1984 LA Olympics.