We're halfway through our countdown now and today we have two players that, while not expected to be starters, are both critical players. They are young, relatively unknown players that need to develop into quality depth guys.
Bearooz Yacoobi - So.
Dearborn, MI (Dearborn HS)
6'5", 297 pounds
2016 Projection: Reserve on the offensive line
This is a huge year for Yacoobi. He has been in the program for two seasons counting his redshirt year and Purdue needs a return on its investment. He is currently listed as the backup to multi-year starter Jordan Roos at right guard, but that is a huge gap. Roos has played for four years. Yacoobi has barely played at all.
Purdue desperately needs offensive line depth and that means Yacoobi needs to develop into a quality player and possible starter for 2017. Right now, he is only an injury or two away from the field and I hope he is ready. Yacoobi did play a little last season at least in a special teams role, so that should help.
Keiwan Jones - So.
Ocala, FL (Dunnellon HS)
6'2", 282 pounds
2016 Projection: Reserve at Defensive tackle
On the other side of the ball Jones is in almost the same boat as Yacoobi. He is currently listed as the primary backup to Eddy Wilson and Jake Replogle on the defensive line, an area where Purdue desperately needs to develop some depth. That means Jones is going to play even though he is coming off of ACL surgery.
Jones was one of four players to suffer the ACL curse last season along with Andy Chelf, Ja'Whaun Bentley, and Markus Bailey. He was on schedule enough to play in the spring game. There is no question hat Purdue needs him to be ready or we will be relying on a true freshman to contribute at defensive tackle.