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The T-Bag: Re-evaluating The Classes

Only one question this week, but it is a big one.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

I received only one question recently for the T-bag, but it is an extensive one that requires its own entry (reminder: if you have a question, e-mail it to

Would you ever consider re-ranking some of our previous football or basketball classes? (changing 3 stars to 4/5 stars, changing 4 stars to 3 stars, etc).

In your opinion, who have been Purdue's  top 5 most important/productive basketball recruits since 2000, and why?

In your opinion, Who have been Purdue's  top 15 most important and productive football recruits since 2000, and why? - Josh Hoffman

Wow. That is extensive, and it would take some time to go back and re-rank every single player in a football class. For basketball, it is easier, however. Any player that goes on to have a decent NBA career has to be considered a 5-star recruit, mostly because of the difficulty in making the NBA with only 60 picks per season. It is even more tricky when 15-20 of those picks are often wasted on European/Foreign prospects that have profiles like, "Well, he just discovered what a basketball was a week ago, but he is 7'6" and will be taller once he starts playing in shoes." For some reason the NBA loves to stash these guys in the second round over a proven 3-4 year college player.

So, with that in mind, here is how I would rank some recent players:


Robbie Hummel, E`Twaun Moore, Carl Landry, JaJuan Johnson - Three of them are currently in the NBA and JJ is playing in Europe (recently signed to play in Turkey with Beşiktaş), but he was still a first-round pick.


Chris Kramer, Terone Johnson, A.J. Hammons, Keaton Grant, Lewis Jackson, D.J. Byrd - These are guys that were solid contributors for 3-4 years and were always in the running for all-Big Ten honors of some sort. Also, all of them are playing professionally somewhere except for Hammons, who is obviously still at Purdue.

Three Stars:

Ryne Smith, David Teague, Nemanja Calasan, Rapheal Davis, Basil Smotherman, Kendall Stephens, Bryson Scott - Scott, Davis, Smotherman, and Stephens still have time to up their stock, but seeing them become NBA prospects would be a surprise. As for guys like Ryno and Chally, they took awhile, but developed into solid role players by the end of their careers.


Everyone else - This includes all the transfers. If you're going to not give your everything to the program why should I care what you're rated.

As far as football, there are definitely some guys that greatly over-performed, so it is nice to talk about them instead of the constant string of disappointing 4-star talents. Here are some of those guys.

Dustin Keller - The guy went from little regarded two-star hometown recruit who was offered mostly because of the Lafayette connections and became a First Rounder in the NFL Draft that is wanted by multiple teams in free agency. The guy simply produces.

Ryan Kerrigan - Again, not much was thought of Kerrigan coming out of HS, but he turned into a rampaging beast by his senior season and won Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year because he fought through double and triple teams on a lousy defense.

Mike Otto - I saw Mike play both football and basketball a lot in HS and he was basically the only competent football player on his team. Their offense was "run behind Mike's side of the line" every play. He was a two-star guy that became a four-year starter and he is still kicking around the NFL with the Titans.

Uche Nwaneri - Uche was in Otto'srecruiting class and was also a two-star guy, but became a multi-year NFL starter with 92 starts for Jacksonville between 2007 and 2013.

Rob Ninkovich - You think the Patriots care that Ninkovih was a 3-star JuCo transfer that was lightly heralded?

Kory Sheets - One of my all-time favorite Boilers for his tenacity. He stepped on the field and immediately produced. He left Purdue with more touchdowns than anyone else, just won the Grey Cup MVP, and is on the Raiders' roster now.