Once again, Michigan State has ended our bowl hopes. For three straight seasons the Spartans have handed us that critical seventh loss. the last two have been especially painful, as we have blown double digit fourth quarter leads in each and shown an amazing ability to shoot our own feet. Once again, the Bucket is our only motivation going into our final game. These following seniors will have no bowl game sendoff, and they represent really our last group of players that has played in any bowl game. Still, we salute them and love them because of their contributions. It is a small class, and most of them will never play football again, but they are still Boilermakers.
#85 Kyle Adams - Lost in all the injuries is Adams, a player that has been our most consistent receiver this year. He has never been a flashy tight end, taking over mostly for Dustin Keller. We would have lost him last season if he had not redshirted in 2008 with a knee injury. More importantly, Adams is an example of what to do off the field. he has boasted the team's top GPA for the past two seasons and has made multiple missions trips to Haiti and one to South Africa. That work is much more important than anything he has done on the field.
#1 Keith Carlos - The career of JuCo players is often meteoric. Just as they arrive, they are gone. Carlos had the best game of his career yesterday with 103 rushing yards and a touchdown, including a big 80-yard TD run. He's done a little bit of everything since coming to Purdue. he's played running back, receiver, and has returned kicks. While we've been frustrated at time with his drops, he is still a Boilermaker.
#25 Dan Dierking - I love players like Dan Dierking. When he came to Purdue I thought he was undersized, but he had a lot of fight. That fight has translated into a senior season where he has exemplified the heart of being a Boilermaker. What he lacks in size in talent is more than made up for in his energy and leadership. He hasn't approached his dad's legendary numbers, but he has still be an unforgettable player.
#96 John Finch - A member of the mystical Blur and hilarious tweeter at @finchmachine, John is a guy that has found his role and earned his way onto the field. After joining the team as a walk-on he has been a steady reserve. In 2008 he took over in the final five games as long-snapper and has stayed there ever since. He is always the first guy down on punt coverage, and there have rarely been any kind of snap problems for Cody Webster or Carson Wiggs.
#39 John Humphrey - I don't know a lot about John Humphrey. In his five years on campus he has only appeared in three games, but he was a heck of a kicker in high school before we recruited him as a linebacker. I am sure he has been a solid practice player and contributor though. You have to be to hang around this long.
#94 Ryan Kerrigan - He is Superman. Kerrigan will leave Purdue as possibly the greatest defensive player in our history. Should he get two sacks against the Hoosiers on Saturday, he will have the school record for sacks. If he gets one forced fumble he will have more forced fumbles than anyone who has ever played major college football. He should win Defensive Player of the Year in the Big Ten despite being held and double-teamed for most of the season. It is a travesty that he did not make the finalist list for the Bednarik and Lombardi Awards. He has the potential to be a top 10 pick in April's NFL draft, which I think would make him the highest drafted player ever from Purdue. Just imagine what he can do next year when people aren't double-teaming him and holding him.
#88 Jeff Lindsay - Lindsay has moved all over the place in his career. He was originally a four-star linebacker recruit. In high school he played quarterback, wide receiver, running back, defensive end, linebacker and cornerback. Once at Purdue, he moved to fullback and caught two short TD passes as a redshirt freshman in 2007. He has since moved to tight end, where his most memorable play was a 56-yard catch and rumble in last year's Michigan game. Since he is a tight end I am legally obligated to call any long gains by him "a rumble".
#16 Jeff Panfil - At one time, Jeff Panfil was going to be our quarterback of the future. He came in with a bright future at the position and even played well in a few spring games. He eventually moved to receiver, then tight end, but injuries have severely limited his career. His mother contacted me before the season and told me a bit of his story. Jeff comes from a proud football family. His dad played in the NFL, his grandfather was a long-time college coach at TCU and Tulsa, and his brother played at TCU. He also had cousins who played at Purdue. Since he injured his shoulder last season Jeff has not been on the field, but he has persevered. His mom came up with the Just Purdue It T-shirts available in the H&R shop too.
#77 Ryan Prater - Prater is another hard worker that hasn't seen much time on the field, but has been a guy that has provided offensive line depth. I am sure we'll see him out there next Saturday at some point when we have our traditional huge lead on Indiana.
#7 Cortez Smith - Like Carlos, Cortez has been on a meteoric path. He burst onto the scene last year at Michigan and has been a solid receiver for us since. he currently leads the team (with Antavian Edison) in touchdown catches. I'd love to have him for another year, as I feel he has been limited because of the injuries around him.
#8 Keith Smith - For the third straight season I hope this is the first of two senior days for Keith. He has applied for a 6th year, but depending on what he hears from the draft folks he could be gone to the NFL anyway. It is a shame his senior season has been cut short. Yesterday would have been a win with Keith Smith on the field. When we needed a first down, he got it. He would have gotten more than one critical first down to keep the ball in our possession yesterday. He's another guy that has moved around from quarterback, to safety, to receiver. Assuming he gets healthy, we will see him play on Sundays.
#87 Kris Staats - Staats is the second member of the Blur that leaves us this year. He came here as a walk-on and found himself on the field as a holder when Curtis Painter got injured in 2008. Since then, he's been the guy holding for both Chris Summers and Carson Wiggs on ever field goal and extra point. With Wiggs' long kick yesterday, Staats has been the holder on the four longest field goals in Purdue history. Finch has been the snapper and Wiggs the kicker on those as well.
#24 Jason Werner - Werner has fought through so much to get to this point. he has missed two full seasons due to back injuries, and that has probably hurt his development greatly as a player. He played in five games as far back as 2005 where, he joked, some of our current freshmen were in middle school. He has twice been an academic all-Big Ten selection. This year he has been a major team leader as a co-captain with Dierking and K. Smith.
#21 Javeare White - With all the running back issues this year I thought we might see White on the field. He was a decent high school player and transferred to us from Louisville. He also had a solid spring game, but it has not translated into any playing time yet.
#43 Walter Williams - Walter is our final senior, and a walk-on majoring in Civil Engineering. It is my hope he goes out with a bang, seeing his first career action against Indiana on Saturday as we blow out the Hoosiers. A number of players have gone out that way in the past several years.
To all of our Purdue football seniors, I thank you for your contributions. It has been an honor to cheer for you and write about you these past few years. This is your week now. Enjoy it and let's keep the Bucket.