Despite the wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth by the Purdue fanbase, football continues to be played. There are several excellent high school football players that have more interest in the Boilermakers than Purdue fans. I'm changing the way this is going to work this year because last year my daughter was under 6 months old during the season and generally slept a lot, allowing me time to write a full article. This year she is 14 months, and dropped my wallet in the toilet while I was trying to write this article. I'll try and cover a few recruits a day. Here are 3 such recruits.
Luke Campbell (OT - Olentangy High School - Lewis Center, OH):
"Uncle" Luke Campbell is a big boy. He's currently listed at 6'4, 275 and has plenty of room to fill out. Campbell leads the offensive line for the 16th ranked team in Ohio, and is a capable pass and run blocker. Uncle Luke will fit in nicely with the other monsters Purdue has collected along the offensive line over the last few recruiting cycles, and has the potential to play either left or right tackle.
8/28: Olentangy 41 Westerville South 17 - Olentangy rolled over Westerville South to open their season, scoring on a pass, a run, a field goal, and an interception. Olentangy overwhelmed Westerville South, and Uncle Luke played a big part in the domination.
9/4: Olentangy 21 Olentangy Liberty 24 - Uncle Luke and his Olentangy Braves fell to the 8th ranked team in Ohio, in an Olentangy Civil War. Olentangy outgained Olentangy Liberty 404 yards to 304 yards, but committed 4 turnovers, negating their advantage (sound familiar). There is no information on the number of times Olentangy threw the ball on 3rd and short, but rest assured, if they did, someone is complaining about it on a high school football message board.
Benaiah Franklin (RB/WR - Wheeler High School - Marietta, GA):
Benaiah "Lightning" Franklin is the explosive (dare I say electric) athlete at the center of the Wheeler High School offensive attack. Franklin is playing primarily as a running back this season, in order to maximize his touches, but is also a capable receiver, with a skill set that translates nicely to the slot position . At 6'0, 205 Franklin has a compact frame capable of running over, around, and through defenders. Wheeler is currently the 100th ranked team in Georgia.
8/21: Wheeler 52 Duluth 6 - Wheeler started their season with a resounding victory over Duluth. Franklin single handedly put the game to bed in the first quarter, scoring on a 14 and 45 yard run, which, in conjunction with a safety and a kick return by Wheeler, gave the Wildcats a 24-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. Franklin racked up 65 yards and two touchdowns on limited touches due to the lopsided score.
8/28: Wheeler 7 Harrison 35 - After soundly defeating Duluth in their first game, Wheeler came crashing back to earth against 66th ranked Harrison. Harrison's defense stymied Franklin and the Wheeler running game as a whole, holding Franklin to negative yards for the game. Franklin did show his versatility, accounting for Wheeler's only score on a 77 yard touchdown reception.
9/4: Wheeler 41 Woodstock 21 - Wheeler and Franklin bounced back from the loss to Harrison in a big way. Benaiah Franklin accounted for 4 touchdowns in the Wheeler victory, racking up 95 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground, and taking a 66 yard screen pass the distance.
Josh Hayes (CB - Pike High School -- Indianapolis, IN):
Josh "P.S." Hayes is one of the best athletes in the state of Indiana this year. He mans the cornerback position for Pike, and I strongly advise ignoring his side of the field this year. He has excellent size for the cornerback position at 6'0, 180 and should continue to fill out physically as he gets older. He has the physical skills to be an excellent corner, but just as importantly, he has the confidence needed to be a lockdown corner for the Boilermakers.
8/21: Pike 55 Brownsburg 34 - Brownsburg is led by Hunter Johnson, and Hunter Johnson is a 5* 2017 quarterback heading to Tennessee. For some reason, Brownsburg's coaches either forgot to watch tape on Pike, or Johnson was too confident in his arm to listen to his coaches. For whatever reason, Hunter and Brownsburg decided to throw the ball to P.S. Hayes's side of the field, and were punished accordingly. Hayes knocked down 2 Johnson passes, picked off 2 Johnson passes, and returned one for a touchdown. When he wasn't busy stealing Johnson's shine, he was making tackles (5) and even found enough time to block a field goal. As I mentioned, don't throw the ball at Josh Hayes because you will regret it.
8/28: Pike 8 Fishers 20 - Fishers took my advice and avoided Hayes all together. It's really not that hard to do. You take your best receiver, split him out wide, run him down the sideline every time, and throw or run the ball the other direction. Fishers stayed away from P.S. Hayes, leading to Josh only having 1 pass defended and 1 tackle. There was no reason for Fishers to challenge Hayes, so they didn't, and were successful in their game plan.
9/04: Pike 30 Ben Davis 27 - Come on Ben Davis, just don't do it, don't challenge Josh Hayes. Ben Davis took a page from the Brownsburg game plan and decided to see if P.S. Hayes was really that good. I mean, come on, he didn't have a bunch of Power 5 offers and is going to Purdue, he can't be that good, right? Wrong, Ben Davis went at Hayes and Hayes once again showed why he should be planned around. Hayes came up with a pick and 3 passes defend. Ben Davis also ran at Hayes, and subsequently, he recorded 13 tackles (12 solo, 1 TFL). Don't throw at Josh Hayes, don't run at Josh Hayes, just run him off and play away from him or you'll be sorry.