Purdue has a few seniors that have long been guys seemingly always on the edge of a breakout, but have yet to deliver. Ryan Russell and Gabe Holmes are two that come to mind, but so is today's player.
Jalani Phillips - Sr.
Warner Robbins, Georgia (Houston County HS)
6'4" 260 pounds
2014 Projection: Possible starter at defensive end
Phillips came to Purdue early, enrolling in the spring of 2011 which allowed him an early year of spring practice. That led to some light work in the 2011 season where he collected two tackles as a reserve. As a sophomore in 2012 he played a bigger role, getting in all 13 games and collecting 23 tackles, 4.5 loss, and a pair of sacks. He also recovered a fumble.
In 2012 Phillips played in all 13 games with one start and had some decent numbers. He had 19 tackles, 4.5 for loss, and two sacks, which were solid numbers for a reserve. More was expected in 2013, but Phillips managed only nine tackles, four for loss, and two sacks in seven games.
Can Phillips give more this year? He certainly has the size to do so, but he has a number of younger guys behind him that will push for time and possibly leave him behind.