With 48 days to kickoff, today we honor one player with a particularly interesting back story.
Jules Williams - Jr.
Indianapolis, IN (North Central)
6'3", 243 pounds
2013 Projection: Reserve at Linebacker
Jules Williams looks the part of a Big Ten footballer, tipping the scales at just over 240 and standing at 6-foot-3. He looked like a natural, and being able to continue playing when he got to Purdue was a goal Jules had set for himself. However when Williams arrived in West Lafayette, things didn't go as planned. Williams had hoped to walk on to Purdue's football team, but after trying out for the team three times, twice as a freshman and then again as a sophomore without luck, he turned his attention to the next closest thing.
Williams joined the club rugby team and began running into people at full speed, except this time with no pads. It was then one day at practice when he caught the break he was hoping for.
"One day while I was playing rugby, a weight lifting coach saw me play and he said he could help me get on the football team," Williams said.
After working out with the team last summer, he was added to the roster, finally achieving the goal he set out to reach when he arrived on campus.
Williams still has some work cut out for him before he begins to see serious time on the defensive side of the ball, but he figures to play a role on special teams this season. Recent history has shown the linebacker position to be one Purdue's weakest points, so the opportunity for playing time is there, but how long will it take him to adapt to the college game? Williams may be a junior, but he doesn't have the grooming and routine many other players experience the moment they step on campus as freshman.
Williams is listed officially as a linebacker, but The Exponent seems to think he could possibly see some time at defensive end. If the praise he receives for his football skill is even half of what he received during his time on the rugby pitch, Purdue will have found a nice surprise.