I know most of the time I get to see basketball commits play with my side job as a sportswriter, but this past weekend I was able to cross paths with an incoming 2016 football commit. The 2016 Purdue football class is still small and won't get a lot larger. We currently have nine players committed, and it looks like another spot will open up soon as there are rumors that J.J. Prince will see his career end with a shoulder injury. He had surgery in the offseason and it does not seem it solved the problem to get him back on the field, so it appears his career is done. That does open up a spot for an incoming freshman, however.
Anyway, I did get to see one of those nine commitments this past weekend when I saw Collin Miller of Hamilton Southeastern play at Zionsville.
After losing the season opener to Carmel , HSE has ripped off five straight wins to get to 5-1They now lead the Hoosier Crossroads conference at 4-0 after beating Zionsville 35-21, and that includes a wild comeback against archrival Fishers when they trailed by 28 only to win 39-33. They are now ranked No. 5 in Class 6A, but they share a sectional with Carmel, Fishers, and Noblesville that will be brutal to get out of.
Miller was quite impressive against Zionsville. He is recruited as a linebacker but HSE lined him up at defensive end. He is a big linebacker too at 6'4" 250 pounds. That size has him as Purdue's highest rated commitment to date. Against Zionsville the Eagles could do nothing to stop him. He either physically dominated the right tackle or had the quickness to get around him.
Now Zionsville is a good team, but it does not have a ton of size. Their tackles are often undersized and quicker, so they are nowhere near Big Ten quality. It was still impressive to see Miller causing havoc in the backfield as the Royals were dominant defensively in building a 28-0 lead after a quarter.
I have the official stats reported by the Zionsville stats department and they show quite a bit. He was credited with a pair of tackles for loss and 7 overall tackles on the night. He also had a pair of QB hurries as Zionsville did not get its offense going until down 35-0 in the fourth quarter.
MaxPreps has him with 52 tackles on the season and 13 of those for loss. That's good for 3rd on his team. For the most part he looked like the real deal as he was physically overpowering. This is a quality many Purdue defenders have lacked for some time. Purdue could certainly use more players like him and as a linebacker he could be a good outside pass rusher. Unfortunately, Saturday showed pretty blatantly that the problems are not with the players, but the scheme itself.