We have another duo of players today, this time wearing jersey #24. Jason Werner seems to have been recruited by Jack Molenkopf, while George Brigandi is your typical hardworking walk-on that has earned some playing time on special teams. First, we have Werner.
Jason Werner - Sr. (6)
Hometown: Greenwood, IN (Roncalli HS)
6'4, 221 pounds
2010 Projection: Starter at linebacker
Werner has had a career very similar to Torri Williams, who was a sixth year senior last season. Both suffered numerous injuries that cost them multiple seasons. As a result, Werner was able to apply for a medical waiver and come back this year. Like yesterday's featured player in Dan Dierking, Werner will serve as a captain in 2010.
Werner played on special teams and as a reserve all the way back in 2005. He managed to get into six games, but did not earn any statistics. He lost the entire 2006 season due to a back injury that would flair up over the next several seasons. He was able to come back and play in 2007, earning academic All-Big Ten honors and notching 28 tackles as a reserve appearing in all 13 games. He was expected to become a starter in 2008, but his back injury flared up again. All season long we were told that he was our best linebacker, but he didn't play a down. Finally, things were cleared up enough so he could play last season and he did well. Werner started all 12 games and recorded 77 tackles, two forced fumbles, and an interception.
All that experience means he will be a leader on the defense this year. It will be his second consecutive season as a captain and he is projected to be an anchor at linebacker with Antwon Higgs, Chris Carlino, Joe Holland, Will Lucas, and Dwayne Beckford. He has already earned his OLS degree and is working on a Master's degree, which who could blame him if it is paid for because of football? At Roncalli High, a power in Indiana football, he won three state championships and holds the school record for interceptions with 14. He also was a track athlete, holding the school record in the 100 meters, 200, long jump, and 400 relay. He placed in the top 8 at the state meet in the 100, 200, and 400 relay in high school.
Off the field Werner is not a fringe political candidate in Ohio. He offered more about his back injury in a recent interview with ESPN's Adam Rittenberg. He was the 2004 Mr. Football in the state of Indiana, and it is safe to say he has had the longest college career of an Indiana Mr. Football. He is a player that leads by example and never quits, which is a trait I am glad he exhibits as a team captain.
George Brigandi - So. (RS)
Hometown: Winnetka, IL (New Trier HS)
5'8", 212 pounds
2010 Projection: Contributor on Special Teams
Will Brigandi play on more than Special teams this year?
George Brigandi is a special teams walk-on that mostly goes unnoticed. After walking on in 2008 he redshirted, then played in five games in 2009 after winning the offensive scout team award as a true freshman. Last year his most significant game was against Northern Illinois, when he had an unfortunate and critical roughing the kicker penalty on a punt. That allowed the Huskies to keep a drive alive, and run more time off the clock. In a bit of a prickish move, Werner threw Brigandi under the bus by making sure the fans knew it wasn't him that committed the penalty since they wear the same number.
Brigandi ran for over 1,600 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior in high school, but he may not get a carry in his entire time at Purdue. He is majoring in anthropology, which is not your typical football major at Purdue. He did have a touchdown in the spring game when nearly every running back on the roster was injured. With Keith Carlos being out and Reggie Pegram still coming along, we may need him early this season.
Big Ten awards update - Big Ten Blog - ESPN
Keith Smith and Ryan Kerrigan are on these lists. Roy Roundtree, are you f***ing kidding me? He's played one season and had two good games against Michigan State and Purdue. Both were losses, I might add.