56 Days To Purdue Football: Ja’Whaun Bentley

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

The promising freshman linebacker could be a starter from day one.

The freshmen finally have official numbers on the roster, so I can include them in the countdown as we get to them. The first freshman is one that has high expectations going into the 2014 season, as he is expected to be an instant impact guy.

Ja'Whaun Bentley - Fr.

Glenarden, MD (DeMatha HS)

6'2", 250 pounds

Linebacker

2014 Projection: Starter at linebacker

Finally, we have recruited an actual living, breathing Big Ten-sized linebacker that comes to Purdue virtually ready to play. He doesn't need two years of development. He doesn't have to switch from another position. He is not undersized and overmatched. After such a dearth of talent at the linebacker position for over a decade it is a relief just to have a player that comes in and at least looks the part.

He comes from the famous sports power DeMatha Catholic and produced for four seasons there. As a freshman he had 10 sacks with a forced fumble. His sack numbers dwindled since then, but he was still a beast of a player with 113 tackles and 26 for loss in an excellent senior year.

Can he start from day one? Well, to be honest, our linebackers have been so putrid for so long thatI can see both he and Gelen Robinson playing immediately. Purdue's currently listed starters are Joe Gilliam (solid, but undersized), Sean Robinson (a position switch guy) and Jalani Phillips (an underwhelming senior). Their backups are redshirt freshmen who have yet to play at all.

Only Phillips and Antoine Miles are close to Bentley's size, so if he is ready, I have no doubt he'll play. In the Big Ten you live and die by linebacker play on defense. Otherwise, your defense is Indiana. Bentley needs to be a rampaging beast that is a sure tackler, able to make plays in the backfield, and able to drop effectively into pass coverage. If both he and Robinson are finally the long awaited answer at linebacker Purdue will get a lot better, quickly.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Hammer and Rails

You must be a member of Hammer and Rails to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Hammer and Rails. You should read them.

Join Hammer and Rails

You must be a member of Hammer and Rails to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Hammer and Rails. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker