The biggest recruiting news for Purdue in the past week was the heavy blow that was the loss of Drue Tranquill to Notre Dame. Tranquill looked as if he would be a difference maker as a possible safety, a strong need for Purdue. Now he is off to South Bend and Purdue is left with a major hole in the recruiting class. Gelen Robinson and David Blough are still solid pickups. I think Tim Cason is a very intriguing player that I like more and more each week. Still, the class is lacking in instant impact guys that can turn around the program.
Purdue will return a bunch of starters next season. Only Bruce Gaston, Ricardo Allen, Kevin Pamphile, Justin Kitchens, Will Lucas, Greg Latta, Ryan Isaac, and Cody Webster have been regular starters every week as seniors. Of those, Allen and Webster are the only two that have played at a really high level all season. Unfortunately, Purdue has more holes than them.
Austin McGehee will replace Webster and there are several defensive backs redshirtting this year that can replace Allen, but for the most part the 10 committed players, 13 players still redshirtting, and the remaining 7 scholarships need to be the guys that begin this turnaround. Unfortunately, only three (Jason Tretter, Denzel Ward, and Kirk Barron) are offensive linemen, which is where Purdue needs the most help.
It is early, but if I had to guess who plays immediately next year I would say Robinson at LB/DE, Ward at offensive tackle, Cason at safety, and McGehee at punter. This is still a small incoming class that will replace a small departing class. Purdue is forced to gamble that a bunch of three-star guys were overlooked and can come in to push those still in the program immediately. If not, we're in for a very long rebuild.
Here is what the remaining active players did this past week:
Will Colmery - Nazareth Academy, LaGrange, IL - DE - SEASON COMPLETE
Simmie Cobbs - Oak Park-River Forest HS, IL - WR - SEASON COMPLETE
Tim Cason - Clarkston HS, MI - DB - Beat Rochester Adams 56-28 in Regional Final - Cason will get to play at Ford Field this week as Clarkston reached the Division I state championship game in Michigan. They beat Flint Carman-Ainsworth 61-26 Saturday in a state semifinal. Clarkston will face Detroit Catholic Central at 1 p.m. Saturday at Ford Field in Detroit.
Gelen Robinson - Lake Central HS, IN - DE/LB- SEASON COMPLETE
Denzel Ward - Simeon HS, Chicago, IL - OT - SEASON COMPLETE
David Blough - Creekview HS, Carrollton, TX - QB - SEASON COMPLETE
Austin McGehee - Pine Bluff, AR HS - P - Beat Siloam Springs 35-7 - McGehee's team was successful in the Arkansas state playoffs with McGehee going a perfect 5-for-5 on extra points. They face greenwood, winners of 50 consecutive games, in this week's semifinal. One of those wins was a state championship game last season.
Gregory Phillips - Arabia Mountain HS, Lithonia, GA - WR - SEASON COMPLETE
Kirk Barron - Marian HS, Mishawaka, IN - OL - SEASON COMPLETE
Trae Hart - First Baptist Academy, Dallas, TX - WR - Beat Colleyville Covenant Christian 48-14 - First Baptist stayed alive to move into the semifinals of the private school tournament in Texas where they will face a Frisco Legacy Christian team they already beat 56-28 this season. Hart had a big game in the quarterfinal with four catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns.