Patience, everyone! Single digits are neigh for the countdown to Purdue football! As with most of these final days, today is a double player day with one guy on offense and one on defense wearing No. 10.
Sean Robinson - Jr.
Springfield, Illinois (Rochester HS)
6'3", 240 pounds
2013 Projection: Starter at Outside Linebacker
Matt Burke - Fr.
West Palm Beach, Florida (Cardinal Newman HS)
6'6", 220 pounds
2013 Projection: Likely redshirt
First, let's talk about Burke, who is a true freshman tight end with a lot of promise. He was a three-star prospect by most services and took part in the 2013 Army All-American Bowl. Last season he had 29 receptions for 343 yards and six scores with a 25-293-6 junior season in 2011. He brings some great size to the position and is very promising as a future prospect, but given the depth Purdue has with Sterling Carter, Gabe Holmes, Patrick Bade, Justin Sinz, and Carlos Carvajal, I think he redshirts this year. Fortunately for him, Bade, Holmes, and Carter are seniors.
With Robinson we have a football player, plain and simple. This is his fourth year with the program and he has been all over the map. In 2010 he came in as a true freshman that was projected to be the No. 4 quarterback. He was headed for a redshirt, but then Caleb TerBush became academically ineligible, Robert Marve tore his ACL, and Rob Henry nearly had his finger ripped off at Ohio State.
That pushed Robinson into the starter's role at QB., He played in five games and started one (technically, Justin Siller started vs. Michigan before getting hurt on the third play and giving way to Robinson). As expected as a true freshman that was not likely to play before all this, he struggled. He completed 41 of 91 attempts for 301 yards, 2 TDs, and six interceptions. He also rushed 31 times for 49 yards.
In 2011 Robinson was still at QB with everyone else back. He even played in one early season game, but was able to redshirt finally. With Marve, Henry, and TerBsuh all back last season, plus Austin Appleby and Danny Etling on the way, Robinson moved to linebacker in spring football for 2012. It ended up being a great move. He was the team's Special Teams MVP and played in all 12 games. Eventually, he started the last six games at outside linebacker and finished with 27 tackles, 3 pass breakups, and was generally a pleasant surprise.
He enters the 2013 season as Purdue's best linebacker according to most projections, which is impressive when you consider he is still very new to the position. In high school he was also a very good wide receiver and punter, so this kid can play anywhere. As a senior he also rushed for over 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns, so if he does end up with the ball on defense he is a threat to do something positive with it.