Get used to seeing No. 13 on the field this year, because it is a lucky 13 on both sides on the ball. Both are freshmen that are expected to have an immediate impact.
Gelen Robinson - Fr.
Schererville, IN (Lake Central HS)
6'1", 239 pounds
2014 Projection: Starter at Rush End
His father is the greatest player Purdue has ever had for men's basketball. His older brother spurned Purdue for Michigan (like Brian Griese) and is off to the NBA this year after stinging Purdue with a last-second shot in Mackey Arena in February. Gelen only has the expectation of being the savior of the Purdue defense.
A 4-star recruit, 2-time state wrestling champion, and finished in the top three in the state twice in the shot put and discus (and was state champion in 2014), Gelen Robinson is an ATHLETE. He has already been moved to the hybrid rush-end position where he will play in space and wreck havoc as much as possible. With his dad being an absolute Purdue legend and the hype coming in, there have been few players that fans have been as excited to see on the field as Gelen. He is even wearing dad's old basketball number.
If anyone is going to break the curse of the 4-stars, it is Robinson, who seems poised to be an immediate contributor.
Gregory Phillips - Fr.
Lithonia, GA (Arabia Mountain HS)
6', 190 pounds
2014 Projection: Contributor at Wide Receiver
Phillips has been very impressive as a true freshman this fall, so much so he is expected to be in the top 6 rotation at Purdue's deepest position. After catching 41 passes for 748 yards and 10 scores in high school last year he has emerged as a legitimate threat as a slot receiver. Here is what GBI had to say about him:
Teammates and coaches raved about Phillips' work ethic and conditioning in the offseason, pointing to him as one of the team's hardest workers and most willing to push other players in runs and drills. He's showed that in practices, too, working at the X receiver position behind DeAngelo Yancey but already generating chatter from Darrell Hazell and others that Phillips could make a move on one of the team's best players.
That's quite impressive, considering Yancey was Purdue's leading receiver in terms of yardage in 2013. Phillips looks like he could be one of those "Diamond in the Rough" players that is unheralded, but contributes immediately.