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86 Days to Purdue Football: Gabe Holmes

As Slandrey and I begin to dabble in the offensive side of the roster for the 2012 Football Countdown, we can start to uncover a solid image of the pecking order for the 2012 Boilermaker offense. Certainly very interesting stuff. And not surprisingly, today we look at #86 on the 2012 football roster--a seasoned upperclassmen who looks to fight his way to the top of the pecking order at his position--the junior Tight End Gabe Holmes.

Gabe Holmes - Jr.

Hometown: Miramar, FL (Saint Thomas Aquinas HS)

Tight End

6'5", 247 pounds

2012 projection: Backup Tight End to Crosby Wright, Starter in 2 Tight End formations

Gabe Holmes has all of the right stuff to succeed at Tight End in 2012 and again in 2013. Entering his third season at Purdue, Holmes is looking to build upon a very productive sophomore campaign. Despite missing a couple of games to a knee injury, the junior still hauled in 11 receptions for 133 yards and a touchdown in 11 appearances as the #2 Tight End for the Purdue offense in 2011. He also earned a couple of starts alongside starting Tight End Crosby Wright out of 2 Tight End formations. In 2012, #86 is still due to play backup to senior Crosby Wright, but it is certainly Wright's spot to lose. And let's be honest, Patrick Bade is no real threat.

Holmes is expected by many to play a larger role for the Boiler offense due to the numerous assets he possesses, which include unique athleticism accompanied by an intimidating figure. This season, Gabe might just look like a prototypical NFL-type Tight End. Expect him to accumulate even more playing time in each game this fall both as a blocking and a receiving Tight End. And as such, look for him to produce bigger numbers than last year while he works to pressure Wright for the starting Tight End position. But if Holmes indeed remains the #2 TE throughout his junior campaign, expect the Purdue offense to run more 2 TE sets that will feature Gabe and his skills on a more regular basis this year. And remember, there is always next year. In which case, watch how dangerous of a weapon he becomes as a senior in 2013. But more on that later!

Follow Gabe Holmes on his Twitter handle at @G_Holmes86.