It has been a hectic offseason since Danny Hope got fired. Purdue went hard after Butch Jones, probably got a better deal in Darrell Hazell, and got drilled in a bowl game but still managed to sign one of its better recruiting classes in recent memory. Let's look at the final list.
|Keith Byars II
That's 24 strong commitments for coach Hazell's first class. By my math there were only 22 open scholarships, so there will be attrition. I'll address that later. In the meantime, let's look at the class, which is rated No. 55 nationally by Rivals (11th in the Big Ten, but close to Iowa and Northwestern) and No. 62 by ESPN (but 7th in the Big Ten).
The Big Gets:
Danny Etling, Keyante Green, Leroy Clark, Dalyn Dawkins
All four of these guys were rated as a four-star prospect by at least one major service, which is a recent record for Purdue. Etling was a four-star by Rivals and ESPN, while Green and Clark were ESPN only. Dawkins was the only four-star according to Scout (which only had Clark as a two-star).
Etling is expected to com in and immediately battle for the starting QB job. Rob Henry has the experience, but Hazell could easily move him to receiver and make Etling go against Austin Appleby and Bilal Marshall in a freshman Battle Royale. Etling has already been on campus and enrolled this spring as a student. That means we'll get to see all three in spring practice.
Green and Dawkins could both play depending on how the running game shakes out. They have Akeem Hunt and Brandon Cottom in front of them. Both are promising, but Green and Dawkins come from football powerhouses in their respective states where they put up a ton of yards. I think we see at least one play next year.
As for Clark he could play in the secondary immediately, but there are a lot of experienced DBs in front of him. He was good enough that Florida, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Mississippi State offered him.
Randy Gregory, Dwayne Johnson
Both of these guys signed with the Nebraska Cornhuskers, and that stings. Gregory was twice a Purdue commit, both out of HS and as a JuCo, but the loss of Hope meant the loss of a four-star defensive end that was one of the top JuCo prospects in the country. It's going to be painful if he gets a sack for Nebraska at Ross-Ade this fall.
This class was light on offensive linemen and losing a bog lineman from Texas in Johnson hurts. That leaves Jason Trotter as the only recruited lineman.
Running Backs - Purdue got four of them, as David Yancey (who is also already on campus) and Keith Byars II join Green and Dawkins. Yancey is the biggest of the four, so fullback could possibly be in his future.
Defensive Backs - If you count Clark, who is listed as an athlete by some services, Purdue got four defensive backs in Clark, last-minute addition Da'Wan Hunte, Austin Logan, and TyVel Jemison. Jemison may be the best of the four, but there is some concern over grades. Purdue needs at least one of these guys to become a serviceable safety. Currently there are only four safeties on the roster, and three of them are juniors. Two are walk-ons, though Landon Feichter has earned the starting job as a walk-on. There is some depth with Normondo Harris, Antoine Lewis, Anthony Brown, Frankie Williams, and Ricardo Allen all playing a lot, but mostly at corner.
Defensive Line - Purdue wants to build a strong front seven and that was addressed with nine commitments on the defensive line or at linebacker. Of these, Ra'Zahn Howard might be the most ready. Someone, be it a recruit or a guy coming out of redshirt, must develop on the other side from Ryan Russell. Also, there is a small hole to fill with the departure of Kawann Short.
Wide Receiver size - Purdue finally went out and got some big receivers that might be able to be stronger than defensive backs instead of being small, speed guys. Dan Monteroso, Myles Norwood, and DeAngelo Yancey are all over 6'2" and TE Matt Burke is 6'6".
Offensive Line - As I mentioned, Tretter is the only prospect unless a D-line guy switches over. Fortunately, Danny Hope was kind enough to leave five nice offensive line prospects that are coming out of redshirt. That's why I am not too worried. Jason King and Jordan Roos look to be the biggest benefactors of being redshirted.
Linebackers - This has been an area of glaring weakness for years and Purdue added three two-star guys and a three-star. Hopefully, these guys show some improvement. We need it.
As I mentioned, Purdue had only 22 spots by my math and signed two players. That means someone will be gone somewhere along the way. That number includes the spot that was occupied by O.J. Ross. The senior receiver is not currently on the roster, so I am counting his scholarship as one of the open 22. Here is where the attrition may likely come from.
TyVel Jemison - As mentioned, grades may cost him his spot before he even gets here.
Garrett Hudson - GBI said earlier today that he is a greyshirt candidate and could possibly pay his own way. His dad is the new defensive coordinator, so that likely explains why. If he gets free or reduced tuition as a family member of a staff employee I am not sure how he counts against the scholarship limit.
Transfers - One of the spots opened up when Kingsley Ike left school in December for reasons unknown. Purdue could be hit by this again.
General Dumbassery - This would be the Dwayne Beckford rule. Spring and summer grades have to come in. players have to avoid getting in trouble at practice, and Where Else is still on campus. Will everyone behave or will someone pull a Beckford? I vote that we call this pulling a Beckford because I can't think of a player for Purdue dumb enough to get arrested four times over the course of a career, and I hope coach Hazell's tolerance for that kind of crap is low.