As we get back to the countdown we come to another senior that is expected to be a starter on a relatively strong defensive line. In fact, he was Purdue's sacks leader in 2014.
Ryan Watson - Sr.
Ellicott City, MD (Our Lady of Good Counsel)
6'2, 298 pounds
2015 projection: Starter at defensive tackle.
Watson is the rare four-star Purdue recruit in football that has panned out, to an extent. He came to Purdue during the 2012 season as a 4-star defensive end expected to make a huge impact. He has not completely washed out like so many other 4-star commits, but he has not had a huge impact, either.
As a true freshman in 2012 he was in on two tackles as a reserve in nine games. He saw more playing time the next year with eight tackles and four starts in seven games. By comparison, last year was a major leap. He had 17 tackles in 12 games and lead the team with four sacks.
That is good for a defensive tackle, but it shows the lack of a pass rush off the end. To make matters worse, all four sacks came in the first four games and two came against Southern Illinois, our FCS opponent.
Honestly, Watson's numbers are good for a serviceable starting defensive tackle in the Big Ten. If he delivers the same in 2015 Purdue will be just fine, as long as he is not a team leader in those categoris. If he is, Purdue is in trouble.