Purdue is expected to be stronger this year on the defensive line even with Ryan Russell headed to the NFL. What is needs are rush ends. The pass rush has been lacking since Ryan Kerrigan left a few seasons ago. It needs a player to step up and get to the quarterback, and that could be today's player.
Evan Panfil - Jr.
New Lennox, IL (Lincoln-Way Central)
6'5", 262 pounds
2015 Projection: Contributor at defensive end
Panfil is one of those original Darrell Hazell recruits that learned a lot by fire early in his career. He burned his redshirt and played as a true freshman in 2013 as Hazell was looking for someone, anyone, to make a difference. He ended up playing in seven games, starting one, and notching five tackles (one for loss).
Last season he was expected to play a larger role and did just that. He appeared in all 12 games, but only had nine tackles and one for loss. Part of that stemmed from playing behind Russell, who is now off to the NFL.
As a junior we need Panfil to have a breakout year. He is already projected as a starter this fall, and we need him to play like an upperclassman starter. He has the size to be a solid defensive end. He needs to be able to create pressure and open things up for the rush end on the other size.