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Patrick Bade To Switch To Football?

In a stunning turn of events Brian Neubert of GBI tweeted that Patrick Bade is planning to leave the Purdue basketball program...

...and join the Purdue football program.

GoldandBlackcom Brian Neubert

If all goes as expected, junior Patrick Bade will leave #Purdue basketball team and join #Boilermakers football team. Not finalized yet.

Yes, you saw that right. Bade is apparently done on the hardwood and instead will be heading across the street to Ross-Ade Stadium to play tight end for Danny Hope's Boilers. I find this a bit surprising. I knew he was highly recruited out of high school for football, but to go back to the game after not playing in two years, especially when some people questioned his toughness on the basketball court, is nothing less than stunning.

The thing is, he could play immediately. He has three years of football eligibility left thanks to the "5 years to play 4" rule by the NCAA. That means he could redshirt this year as he re-acclimates to football. He could, while being on football scholarship, still play during the Big Ten season if we needed him. We're going to be short on size yet again, but I was someone who wasn't ready to give up on him. I think he was thrown into a bad situation as a freshman and was expected to do too much, especially after Robbie Hummel went down. Last year all the talk was that he was much improved, but he struggled to find minutes after starting early in the year.

After the Ohio State game in Columbus he got himself a few more minutes because he "stopped feeling sorry for himself and got back to work", but he still didn't play a lot with Travis Carroll and Sandi Marcius taking what minutes he had. In many ways, this season was a step back. He went from 51 points scored to 18, 35 games played to 23, and 55 rebounds to 35. Combined with two freshmen passing him, I guess it is not as much of a surprise.

I still feel bad for Patrick. He's a good kid that took a lot of unwarranted abuse from message boards and even commenters on this site. I have no doubt that he was trying out there because coach Painter doesn't play people who don't try. For whatever reason his skills, which were stellar in his senior season at Franklin Central, never translated to Purdue's style. That's not his fault. I wanted him to succeed and still felt he could be a valuable member of next year's team. I always felt that with the shooting ability he had in high school he could have been more like Hummel, but he was never asked to fill Hummel's role.

So what are the football implications here? At 6'8" 229 pounds he is probably going to project as a tight end. USC, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Notre Dame were all giving him interest to play football. With Kyle Adams graduating there is certainly a spot for him to play. He'll battle Sterling Carter and freshman Robert Kugler for playing time. Gabe Holmes, Justin Sinz, and Crosby Wright are also tight ends currently on the roster, but only Holmes has played.

There is also the possibility that he can still contribute in basketball. As a football scholarship player he can technically walk on to the basketball team, but he wouldn't be available until after Thanksgiving at the earliest. He can even sit out for a year in basketball, concentrate on football, then return for two more years as a walk-on while still being on football scholarship.

In basketball, the immediate implications leave us with only Hummel, Marcius, Carroll, and two freshmen in Donnie Hale and Jacob Lawson as big men. Of those, only Hummel has made a big contribution so far. It does, however, free up a scholarship for next season. If Brandon Wood were still available this would be his spot. That scholarship will likely sit empty for the 2011-12 season, but I know people are more concerned for the 2012-13 season.

Unfortunately, we're still questionable for that year. The Ronnie Johnson announcement put us one scholarship over in what would have been Bade's final year of basketball. We're now back to full for 2012-13 and 2013-14 instead of being one over for both years (Correction: We're still one over in 2013-14). Everyone wants Gary Harris and he hinted that Purdue is still in the running, but as of right now there is not room...

... at least for basketball.

You see, Harris is also a highly recruited wide receiver with the Hamilton Southeastern football program. We could technically sign him to a football scholarship for the 2012 football season, and while he redshirts he would be fully available to walk on to the basketball team. He then would only need to stay on football scholarship for one year, walk-on again as a sophomore, then there would be a basketball scholarship available for his junior year in 2014-15 for basketball.

The pieces are starting to line up here. We seem to have gained a lot of ground in the Harris sweepstakes after Ronnie Johnson signed. His addition would be a major coup as it would give us possibly the best in state player in the class of 2012.

Stay tuned!