Keith Byars II - Fr.
Boca Raton, FL (Milford Academy/Boca)
5'10", 200 pounds
2013 Projection: Redshirt at Running Back
Keith Byars II, he of the Will Smith flattop, joins defensive tackle Brandon Taylor as another member of the Boilermakers with an NFL pedigree. The Byars offspring comes in at 5'10" 210 after spending a year at prep school Milford Academy in New York, running for 63 yards on nine carries. He only put up 655 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior, but struggled with injuries throughout high school. KBII also had offers from Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, and Louisville, among a handful of non-BCS schools. While one of the incoming freshmen at running back is likely to avoid a redshirt this year, it appears Dalyn Dawkins has the inside track over Byars II and the rest of the stable. Check out his highlights below.
Keith Byars II Class of 2012 (via KB041)
Taylor Richards - Jr.
Lake Mary, FL (Lake Mary)
5'10", 192 pounds
2013 Projection: Starter at Safety
Richards comes into 2013 after starting all 13 games at safety last year, finishing fifth on the team with 51 total tackles, including 43 solo stops. To go along with six pass breakups, Richards also blocked a kick against Eastern Michigan.
Richards was initially part of the Danny Hope inspired Florida influx, choosing the Boilers over Kansas, Mississippi, and Central Florida, appearing in ten games as a true freshman.
Hopes for Richards are high, as depth at safety is a weak spot for Purdue, and according to Mike Carmin, Richards and the secondary have been focusing on communication and tackling. Tackling? From a defensive unit? I've missed this the past couple years. As previously mentioned, depth at the safety position is weak but Richards and Landon Feichter, along with Ricardo Allen and Frankie Williams at corner, bring a whole lot of experience to the secondary.
Richards is expected to be a big performer on the defensive side of the ball this year. Despite his small size, relatively speaking, Richards has shown a knack for getting at the ballcarrier and will be a key cog in the secondary unit this season.
Richards plans to major in movement and sports science with eventual plans for a career in physical therapy.