It has not been a fun time for the 2015 Purdue Football Seniors. They have not possessed the Bucket in three years. They have only won 12 games over the past four seasons against 36 losses. They have endured a coaching change, an epic bowl blowout, and have won just five Big Ten games.
They are still Boilermakers, however.
This year's group was mostly brought in by Danny Hope and are leftover from a previous regime. They have seen playing time changed around and have endured a lot of on the field struggles. Saturday will be their final game in Ross-Ade Stadium, and only a few have a legitimate shot at the NFL. Let's meet these 15 players as we prepare to say goodbye:
Michael Rouse III - DT - Rouse is a 5th year senior that has never been a consistent starter, but he has been a solid backup. This season he has played in four games with 8 tackles as a defensive tackle, including a sack. It was the first sack of his career and overall he has played in 20 games with a pair of starts. Again, he's not a great player, but he has been a solid reserve and a member of the defensive line rotations.
Grant Ellington - LS - Ellington will leave Purdue without having played a snap. He transferred in from Drake University as a walk-on and with the long snapper's position open before this season he lost out to true freshman Ben Makowski.
Ryan Watson - DT - Watson came to Purdue as a four-star defensive end out of Maryland, but has spent most of his time at defensive tackle. Last season he led Purdue with four sacks, but all four were in the first four games of the year. He never used his redshirt, so here we have a guy that has played from day 1. This season he has been decent as a starter with 25 tackles and a sack along with a fumble recovery. He has also blocked a pair of kicks this year.
Shame Mikesky - WR - Mikesky is coming off of a career milestone at Iowa, where he caught his first touchdown pass. He will likely be a four-time Academic all-Big Ten selection, which is impressive when you consider he is also a hurdler on the track team. In my opinion he is a player that has been underused a bit, and it has shown this year. In limited action he has 10 receptions for 119 yards and a score> this is after not catching a pass at all last season and having 17 for 186 yards in 2013. Apparently a guy who can get separation and get 10 yards per catch has no place in the Shoopfense. He has a total of 29 receptions for 310 yards and a score in his career.
Jordan Jurasevich - TE - Jurasevich is a good story. The former walk-on earned a scholarship for his final season and has been a solid blocking tight end since joining the regular rotation last year. This season he has been used as a pass catcher more with 8 receptions for 39 yards and a touchdown against Nebraska. This is a kid that has worked hard and was properly rewarded for his last year.
David Hedelin - OT - The big Swede has been a rock at left tackle since coming in as a four-star JuCo transfer last season. Even though he missed a few games due to an NCAA suspension for playing for a club team in his native Sweden he has been a solid left tackle that has protected the blind side for the various quarterbacks of the last two season. He missed the Iowa game due to a concussion and may not be clear for Indiana.
Corey Clements - OL - Corey Clements is a large human being. In fact, he might be too large. He is listed at 6'8" 420 pounds, which is simply massive. That likely makes him the largest player ever at Purdue. Unfortunately, his size has affected his conditioning and limited him to just reserve action since coming to Purdue as a JuCo transfer last season. He does serve as a solid blocker on special teams.
John Bednar - LS - Bednar is a lot like Ellington above. He is a walk-on long snapper that lost out on playing time to true freshman Ben Makowski.
Robert Kugler - C - Kugler has never missed a game in the past four seasons and Saturday will be his 43rd consecutive start at center. As a team captain he has been a natural leader. It says something that he has had to handle six different starting quarterbacks in his time at center. It's true. Caleb TerBush and Robert Marve were behind him as starters in 2012. In 2013 is was Rob Henry and Danny Etling. In 2014 it was Etling and Austin Appleby. This year it was Appleby and David Blough. Through it all Kugler has been a rock and he has a decent chance of continuing on to the NFL.
Paul Griggs - K - My heart goes out to Paul Griggs, and while it was frustrating to have two field goal attempts inside the five against Iowa on Saturday, it was good to see him make tow in a row. His career has been up and down. As a freshman he split duties with Sam McCartney, but had the joy of a game-winner at Iowa. He struggled as a sophomore, but was an excellent 16 of 20 as a junior. This season has been a disaster though. He was 3 of 9 with only one attempt in Big Ten play before Saturday. After hitting from 53 yards once last year he has missed everything beyond 34 this year. Hopefully he gets a shot at redemption against Indiana.
Danny Anthrop - WR - Purdue has asked everything of Anthrop. Early on he played mostly running back, where he had 58 yards rushing and a TD as a true freshman in 2012. He then became Purdue's best receiver before a torn ACL ended last season and has clearly limited him this year. He has 104 receptions now for 1,288 yards and nine TDs heading into his final game, where he is also returning kicks and punts. I think we can expect him to at least get a look as an undrafted free agent in April.
Thomas Meadows - P - Meadows has also been a casualty of Purdue's special teams woes. He made it 8 punts into the year before he was pulled in favor of Joe Schopper. Since then he has been relegated to placekick holder. That is a sad end for a guy that started all last season.
Stefan Certa - CB - I didn't even know this guy was on the roster and he joined late enough to miss our season player countdown. He is a walk-on from Crown Point, Indiana and was a teammate of Jordan Jurasevich in high school.
Frankie Williams - CB - Williams is another team captain and has been one of Purdue's best players for a few years now. My son loves him because he was on the football poster in our kitchen and asked to see him every day over the summer, knowing football season was coming. He now has 10 interceptions for his career and will hopefully repeat his Second team all-Big Ten honors from last season. If not for Greg Hudson inexplicably playing him so far off of receivers he would be even better.
Anthony Brown - CB - Brown has been excellent on the other side of the field from Williams, notching a three interception game against Nebraska. He is currently third on the team in tackles with 58 and has also been a leader despite being shifted out of position by Hudson. Both Brown and Williams should get a look from an NFL team.
To these 15 seniors, I say thank you. Thank you for being part of the Purdue family. Thank you for enduring some very trying times on the field. Thank you for your contributions and representing our University with class and dignity.