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7 Days to Purdue Football: Cortez Smith and E.J. Johnson

With one week to go I finally get to give some credit to a player that was instrumental in Purdue's first win at Michigan Stadium since 1966. I also get to profile a player that reminds me a bit of Stu Schweigert.

Cortez Smith - Sr.

Hometown: Hooks, TX (Hooks HS)

6'2", 180 pounds

Wide Receiver

2010 Projection: Starter at Wide Receiver

Until the Michigan game last year Cortez did not do a whole lot. He came in as a JuCo transfer because we needed some depth at wide receiver, but other targets emerged. Since everybody had a case of the drops the week before, Cortez got a chance to play against the Wolverines. He ended up with four huge receptions in the game for 85 yards. Two receptions were big first downs, while the biggest play was his 54-yard touchdown catch on the play right after the onside kick. He caught eight passes for 52 yards and a touchdown the next week against Michigan State, finishing the year with 17 catches for 177 yards and two scores.

That gives him the inside track to start this year as a senior, though Antavian Edison and Gary Bush will likely split time with him. In high school he played with Gerald Gooden, whom I'm sure helped bring him to Purdue from Kilgore College. He is not to be confused with the Indiana running back of the same name.

E.J. Johnson - Sr.

Hometown: Cocoa, FL (Cocoa HS)


6'1", 175 pounds

2010 Projection: Possible starter at safety

I don't care about stars. I care about winning. E.J. Johnson is a winner. He was the starting safety the past two seasons for Cocoa high school and the Tigers won consecutive state championships. He also was a starter on their state championship basketball team as a junior. He made waves in football his junior year with 8 interceptions, including three in the state championship game. We saw plenty of him last year after he committed thanks to weekly videos from Florida Today.

Johnson played some offense last year and had six catches for 183 yards and three touchdowns. He knows what to do once he has the ball, and all those interceptions in his career remind me of Schweigert. I was able to track him quite a bit last year thanks to excellent local coverage by his hometown newspaper.

While Albert Evans is more of a hitter, we could use Johnson in the secondary. We need a guy that is a ball hawk over the middle, where we are incredibly vulnerable against the pass. Johnson could be that guy.

Boilermakings Notes:

Big Ten fills up Rotary Lombardi watch list - Big Ten Blog - ESPN
Ryan Kerrigan is on the Lombardi Award watch list.

Big Dog's son making some noise - Illinois Fighting Illini Sports Blogs (Recruiting Wrap by Cody Westerlund) -
Can we get the Little Dog?

Lake The Posts - Northwestern Football Blog: 2010 Preview - Game 6 - Purdue
Lake the Posts thinks a 3-point Northwestern win will happen on October 9th.