With less than a month left until Purdue football begins once again, I can't possibly express to anyone how excited I am. Just to be able to go through another round of the many great Purdue traditions and personal habits on gameday warms my heart and makes me giddy like a 12-year-old girl at a J Biebz concert.
It's all about putting on my black Ryan Kerrigan jersey, marching across campus up to Ross-Ade, watching prideful tailgaters and pep rallies on Slayter Hill. It's getting up at before 6 a.m. to proudly partake in Breakfast Club, or waiting in long lines for some Triple X Breakfast before the game and not giving a damn because you know the food is worth the wait!
I mean, what Boilers don't love these things? Well, another thing that is going to keep me excited for gameday this year just so happens to be today's featured player in the Countdown. He's big, fast, tough and our go to guy at Running Back. With 24 days until Purdue football, today we look at Akeem Shavers.
Akeem Shavers - Sr.
Hometown: Texarkana, Texas (Tyler JC)
5'11", 203 pounds
2012 Projection: Starter at Running Back
There's no other way to say it. The level of success Akeem Shavers achieves this season will greatly impact and reflect the level of success the entire Purdue offense achieves in 2012. Entering his senior year--and his second with Purdue football--Shavers is already set in stone to be the starting Running Back for the Boilers come next month. He has also been distinguished as a team captain and is expected to use these privileges to reach impressive heights this fall.
With Ralph Bolden still recovering from a nasty ACL injury late last year and an arrest on campus back in the spring, Akeem has been given a clear path to take on the premiere Running Back duties at Purdue, and I have a sneaking suspicion that he is prepared to dominate. #24 possesses ideal size, speed and strength for a Running Back in the Big Ten.
At 5'11" and 203 pounds, Shavers is a bit of a do-it-all, balanced weapon. He has the quickness to play as a speed rusher. Some reports say he has clocked close to a 4.4 40 time! He also shows characteristics of being a great power runner, and he has the strength in his core to block well in the backfield. He even has some great hands for catching the football in the flat, which he showcased a bit last year.
Basically, Boiler Nation should feel very lucky that we have a true workhorse back like Shavers. With Bolden out of the picture to start the season, and little positional depth or experience behind backup Akeem Hunt, #24 will more than likely be called upon to carry a huge load for the offense in a majority of the games this year.
And that's OK with me. Because what I really like about Akeem is his work ethic. It is rare and coveted, and it is no doubt a major reason he has gotten all the way to this stage. After a good high school campaign at Redwater near his home of Texarkana, Texas, he didn't manage to pull in any offers from Division 1 programs, and instead chose to play a couple years of JUCO ball at Tyler Junior College close to home. And after choosing to transfer to a D1 school--picking Purdue over offers from top flight programs like Texas A&M and IU (OMG LOL JK!!!!)--Akeem's climb to the top of position on a Big Ten team is not just noteworthy, but quite inspirational.
I have no doubts that Akeem's hard work and choice to play for the Boilermakers will pay some serious dividends in 2012. Really, it's just a matter of asking "How good can this guy be?" and "Can he stay upright?". If the guy continues to work hard and avoids misfortune, he is surely to have one heck of a senior season. Hopefully fans abound will be blessed to see Akeem replicate the kind of production that earned him MVP of last year's bowl game throughout the 2012 schedule.
If you're not already doing so, get Twitterized and follow my man Akeem at @PrinceAkeem24 (I'm hoping that's a Coming to America reference). No seriously, do it. He's a star, so you certainly won't regret it.