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25 Days to Purdue Football: Dan Dierking

Purdue does not have many seniors. There are only 12 on the current roster, meaning two things: 1. We should have a fairly small recruiting class, and 2. There will be a lot of returning starters next season. Over the next two days I'll be featuring a pair of those seniors, with Dan Dierking taking the headline today at #25.

Dan Dierking - Sr.

Hometown: Wheaton, IL (Wheaton Warrenville)

Fullback

5'10" 186 pounds

2010 Projection: contributor at fullback/running back

Statistically, Dan Dierking hasn't done much on the field. He ran for 181 yards and two scores, most of which came in a pair of season opening blowouts. He has had just 38 yards rushing since then, plus five catches for 73 yards and a touchdown, but he has appeared in all 37 games during his career. He is a symbol of toughness, winning the starting fullback role when he is smaller than most regular running backs.

We shouldn't be surprised by this. His dad, Scott Dierking, is one of our best running backs ever. He ranks fourth in rushing with 2,863 yards and was a fist team all-Big Ten selection in 1976. He then went on to enjoy a seven year NFL career. Scott's toughness carried over to Dan, where he earned Gatorade player of the Year honors in Illinois as senior with 6,309 yards rushing and 98 career touchdowns. His 2,507 yards and 37 touchdowns as a senior is damned impressive, and he brought teammate Kurt Lichtenberg with him.

Dan has twice been named Academic all-Big Ten in Management (which is a real major at Purdue, MGoBlog). He will be one of our team captains this season and is expected to have a larger role in the offense because of Ralph Bolden's injury. He will probably play fullback with Jared Crank, but also see time at halfback with Keith Carlos and Al-Terek McBurse. He had a key touchdown last year against Indiana.

Like Carson Wiggs, Dan has a facebook fan page set up by his friends.

Boilermakings Notes:

Time Set For Challenge Meeting With Virginia Tech
The Virginia Tech game will be a 7:30 tip on ESPN.

Purdue could be a surprise in the Big Ten - IndySports
Indy Sports Nation thinks a New Year's Day bowl is possible. I like that, especially since five Big Ten bowls are on New Year's Day.