With 39 days to kickoff, today we get to know the man in the middle on defense, Joe Gilliam.
Joe Gilliam - Jr. (RS)
Indianapolis, IN (Southport)
6'1", 227 pounds
2013 Projection: Starter at MLB
Gilliam came to Purdue in 2010 as a tackling machine from the south side of Indy, amassing more than 90 tackles in each of his junior and senior years at Southport. Gilliam chose Purdue over offers from the likes of Stanford, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Vanderbilt, and Indiana, coming to campus as the No. 8 recruit in Indiana.
Three years and a redshirt later, Gilliam enters the 2013 season as Purdue's answer at middle linebacker. Gilliam teamed up with Will Lucas to man the middle last year, with the two ranking 4th and 2nd on the team in tackles, respectively (57 tackles, 1 sack, 1 FF, 2.5 TFL for Gilliam). This year, Gilliam's hoping to make it a one man show in the middle.
Gilliam will be the starter at middle linebacker in 2013, with Lucas moving over to the outside. Gilliam is on the smaller side of the middle linebacker spectrum, but what he lacks in prototype size he makes up in speed and agility (4.5/4.6 depending on who you trust), playing fast and getting to the ballcarrier. Purdue will look for Gilliam to rank near the top of the team in tackles again as the Boilers look to rebuild the defensive line unit in front of him. Look for big years out of Gilliam and the rest of the experienced linebacking unit this year.
Gilliam plans on majoring in selling and sales management, and you can get more Joe in your life by following him on Twitter @JoeGotti_39.