After having a recruiting class that was often over 20 the Boilermaker family grow by 18 today, and still could grow by one more and put Purdue at exactly 85 scholarship players if Miguel Machado signs. The junior college offensive tackle is the lone holdout so far as he announced via twitter this morning that he is still wavering between Purdue and Michigan State.
The class overall is not highly ranked, so it will have to be a class that gets coached up and overachieves if the Boilers are to get out of the Big Ten basement. It still has some very talented players:
Possible Immediate Starters:
Gelen Robinson - Purdue's lone four-star commitment stayed on board and is the standout of the entire class. Robinson played mostly defensive end in high school, but could move to outside linebacker, which is a position of major need. He is a tough player at 6'1" 231 pounds and is a state champion in both wrestling and shot put. He is also the son of basketball great Glenn Robinson and brother of Michigan basketball player Glenn Robinson III
Austin McGehee - Purdue loses Ray Guy finalist Cody Webster, so it needs a new punter. That will be McGehee from day 1. McGehee could also eventually see time as a placekicker. Paul Griggs has struggled some in his first two years and Sam McCartney,a junior along with Griggs, did not have an attempt in 2013. McGehee may also challenge Thomas Meadows for both punting and kickoff duties.
Jawhaun Bentley - Like Robinson above, Purdue needs linebackers and Bentley at least looks the part at 6'2" 245 pounds. It will be up to Marcus Freeman to get him ready to play immediately but Purdue needs a guy that can come in and play the middle of the field. Bentley at least got a look from Alabama, so he is definitely a guy who can make an impact.
Tim Cason - Cason was the highest rated defensive back in a class that played musical chairs at the position. Purdue ended up signing three and has several other young DBs. The Boilers lost their best DB in Ricardo Allen, too.
Trae Hart - Hart is a small, speedy receiver that scored a ton of touchdowns for the Texas private school state champion. He might find a role somewhere.
Corey Clements - Clements is a massive offensive tackle at 6'8" and close to 400 pounds. He has also actually slimmed down a bit. He still needs to drop some weight, but he could start on a beleaguered offensive line. Clements is the only signed JuCo player so far.
David Blough - Blough has already enrolled and will go through spring practice. The former Elite 11 finalist is one of the better QBs in the country for 2014 and is a disciple of Drew Brees from Texas. We may not see him for awhile, however. Danny Etling is the current starter and Austin Appleby has not given up yet, so I expect Blough to redshirt unless he is absolutely needed or just blows away Appleby and Etling.
Cole Herdman - Herdman had only 12 catches last season, but seven were for touchdowns. He knows his way around the red zone and could be ready after Justin Sinz, one of Purdue's top returning receivers, leaves after 2014.
Dexter Knox - No one knew much about Knox until Purdue got him late thanks to a huge game in the Georgia state championship. He is buried behind several other RBs and will likely redshirt, but he is a hard runner that can make an impact.
Cedric Dale - Dale reportedly plays with a chip on his shoulder, as he is undersized like Ricardo Allen was. He has a high motor though and looks promising.
Bearooz Yacoobi - Yacoobi has a great name and is an offensive lineman that needs to gain strength and size. He is almost assuredly a 2014 redshirt.
Will Colmery - Colmery is a very tall defensive end that is likely a developmental player, but you cannot teach size at 6'4".
Keiwan Jones - Jones is a defensive tackle prospect hat could see time right away, but is more likely a 2014 redshirt if other players returning step up.
Gregory Phillips - Phillips is a wide receiver and Purdue has a ton of freshman wideouts coming back that played big minutes last year. That means Phillips will likely redshirt.
Martesse Patterson - Patterson is another offensive line commit that could play early if he outperforms returning guys that did not do well last year. He projects as a guard and is already over 300 pounds, but it is a big step from high school to Big Ten starter.
Brandon Roberts - Roberts is the third freshman defensive back and is more of a cornerback. He is a bigger corner at 6' and Purdue does have a need there. It is up in the air if he plays, however, as John Heacock, the cornerbacks coach, already left.
Miguel Machado - Machado could be the starter from day one as a JuCo transfer, but he needs to sign first. As mentioned above, he is down to Michigan State or Purdue and has said little all day.