One of the best things about Joe Tiller was the way he referred to some players. T.J. Barbarette was on the receiving end of that his first year when he walked on to the Purdue football team in 2008. Tiller consistently referred to Barbarette as "the short, fast kid". He has yet to play in a game after redshirting in 2008 and being on the roster last year, but I think he sees the field somewhere before his career is done.
T.J. Barbarette - So. (RS)
Hometown: Mt. Vernon, IN (Mt. Vernon HS)
5'6", 165 pounds
2010 Projection: Contributor on Special Teams, possibly at wide receiver
Barbarette played in the spring game as a running back, but has been noticed mostly for his speed. He is a former high school teammate with Josh Van Zant where he was the MVP of the track team and football. He could see time this season as a punt returner, which isn't bad for a guy that walked-on to the team as an undersized running back that ran and caught passes for over 1,000 yards as a senior in high school. His final senior year stats were as follows:
1,116 yards on just 115 carries with 13 touchdowns
1,224 yards on 67 passes and 16 touchdowns
2 punts returned for touchdowns
2 kickoffs returned for touchdowns
I know I am not a math whiz since taking Calculus and earning an A when I was in high school, but that is a lot over 2,300 yards from scrimmage and 33 total touchdowns in 10 games for a 4-6 team. That's damn good against any competition.teams knew he was one of Mt. Vernon's main weapons and he still averaged over 3 scores per game.
T.J. was kind enough to place some of his highlights on YouTube for us. The bottom line is that this guy is too fast not to play somewhere. His small stature means there is less of him to tackle too. Why not stick him back on returns and see what happens? It couldn't be worse than Aaron "Fumbles" Valentin.