Today in Chicago some of the top players from the previous college football season will be drafted to enter into the NFL. None of the people in that room, or drafted today, will be from Purdue University. If a Purdue player gets drafted, and that's a big if, it will be in the later rounds watched only by those die-hard fans of the draft. That's a small contingent of fans. Purdue will get zero publicity over the next 2-3 days while other, bigger, schools will get plenty of free press. It doesn't just happen today either. As soon as the college football season is over the talking heads begin to look at who could be drafted and who will draft them. The top players get the most publicity and once again none of these players are Purdue players. As the players are profiled you'll see plenty of information on Clemson, Alabama, Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Florida State, hell, even Iowa is going to be mentioned after the solid season they had. There won't be one mention of Purdue, and that matters. It matters a great deal.
If you didn't grow up a Purdue fan there's a large likelihood that you don't know much about Purdue. Sure, there are a lot of great players in the NFL from Purdue, but they aren't necessarily big name stars. Sure, there is Drew Brees, and star of Sharknado 3 Ryan Kerrigan, but as far as recognizable names and faces it's possible that's it. Local fans in Atlanta will know about Ricardo Allen but he's by no means a household name. For those young men watching today who could be heading to college soon they will watch the draft tonight and see these powerhouse schools putting players in the NFL and dream that they to might one day walk the stage thanks to a career at Alabama. Not many kids will be thinking that Purdue is their best chance to get to the NFL draft. This is yet another problem that Purdue faces while they recruit. Like most of you I love Drew Brees but we can only bank on him for so long. Eventually you have to put another big name in the NFL, or at the Heisman ceremony. Purdue needs faces that people recognize representing them. Recruiting is a zero sum game. Every piece that helps your competition hurts you. Right now Purdue is getting hurt more than they are getting helped.
When Purdue fails to make a bowl game it's an opportunity lost. When Purdue loses a game to Michigan on ESPN an opportunity is lost. When Purdue fails to have a player drafted it's an opportunity lost. When Purdue doesn't sign big name recruits on national signing day it's an opportunity lost. It's a damn hard thing to come out of. We've mentioned it time and time again but it bears repeating how vicious the spiral Purdue finds themselves in is. Without wins Purdue won't get the recruits. Without the recruits they won't win. Without winning they won't get the recruits. See how it is? Tonight is just another example of a missed opportunity for Purdue. Remember tonight that when you watch the draft and see the announcers talking about Alabama and Clemson how much of a detriment that is to Purdue.
Purdue has dug themselves one hell of a hole. The only way to get out of it is to win football games. First though, Purdue has to stop digging. Could this be the season when the digging stops and the hole begins to shrink? It certainly looks more promising than recent seasons. Does that mean anything at this point in the year? Probably not, but hope springs eternal. To paraphrase that oft repeated line next season is, after all, another day. For tonight Purdue has to take the lumps and move forward filling that hole.