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Purdue Football Recruiting: Where Are We and Where Are We Going?

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NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Purdue Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Purdue has been on a recruiting heater. In fact, someone needs to bring the coaching staff another redbull and vodka (looking at you Cryan) because there is no way they should get up from the table now. It’s been a whirlwind few days, so I thought it would be a good time to review who we have, and how many spots we are looking to fill.

Note: All rankings are 247 composite rankings. The rankings for 247 are as follows:

100-90 – 4*

90-80 – 3*

70-80 – 2*

79 – NR – 1*

Quarterback:

1. Nick Sipe: Pro Style - 6’4 – 190 – Villa Park, CA 3* - 85

2. Griffin Alstott: Dual Threat – 6’2 – 200 – Northside Christian School, FL – 3* - 82

Overall:

Purdue did a great job of filling their need at quarterback. They went all the way to the left coast to pick up Nick Sipe, who is currently the highest ranked player in the class. It will be a fight to keep him, but that’s a good thing. Alstott is a guy who is going to be given a shot to stick at quarterback, but has the potential to land at another position as well. Alstott along with 2016 signing Jared Sparks give Purdue some flexibility in the 2018 class in terms of quarterback. They can target a top tier player, and if they strike out, it’s no big deal, because both Alstott and Sparks are good enough to play quarterback, but they can also be moved to another position if Purdue finds a 2018 QB they really like.

Running Back:

1. Antwauan Branch: 5’11 – 200 – Kenwood, TN – 3* - 85

Overall:

Purdue is only going to take one running back in this class because the depth chart is full up with underclassmen at the moment. They signed one of their top prospects in Branch. Branch is an explosive all purpose back who will have time to refine his craft with the Boilers before having to carry the load. He has the potential to be a workhorse.

Wide Receiver:

1. Brevin Harris: 6’4 – 170 – Norwayne, OH – 3* - 84

2. C.J. Hayes: 6’3 – 200 – South Warren, KY – 3* - 83

3. LePerion Perry: 5’8 – 165 – LaGrange, GA – 81

4. Pending

5. Possible

Overall:

Purdue is going to need to restock their wide receiver ranks. 3 seniors are graduating, 1 transferred, and Jack Wegher moved to running back. Once again, Purdue has done an excellent job in one of the main positions of need in this class. Harris and Hayes both provide big targets on the outside and Perry gives Purdue a true slot receiver. I look for the Boilers to sign at least 4, and possibly 5 wide receivers in this class. There is still work to be done, but things are off to a great start.

Offensive Line:

1. Malcolm Robinson – Offensive Guard – 6’3 – 280 – Washington, OH – 3* - 84

2. Robert Hudson – Offensive Tackle – 6’9 – 295 – Walled Lake Western, MI – 3* - 83

3. Jylton Tusha – Offensive Tackle– 6’5 – 305 – University Christian, FL -2* - 79

4. Possible

Overall:

The Boilermakers lose 3 offensive line mainstays after this season, as Roos, Cermin and King usher out the last of the Danny Hope Purdue recruits. Purdue was looking for tackle prospects in this class, and found 2 large individuals. Hudson and Tusha are both guys that are going to need a little seasoning. Idealy, you won’t see them until at least their redshirt sophomore year. That said, they certainly have the frames to compete in the Big10. Hudson, in particular, is a giant who has just begun to fill out his massive frame. Malcolm Robinson gives Coach Funk a possible monster on the interior of the line. Robinson was one of Purdue’s top rated offensive line prospects, and they managed to pick him up. He’ll be another player we will have to fight to keep, because he’s a good one. Overall Purdue may be done with the offensive line unless a center prospect becomes available. All in all, this is a solid O-line class.

Tight End:

1. Pending

2. Pending

Overall:

Purdue only has 3 scholarship tight ends on the roster, and you’ve got to think bolstering the ranks at the offensive coordinator’s pet position is a top priority. I’m looking for a smaller, pass catching tight end in the Dustin Keller mold to even out the roster currently full of bigger tight ends. I’ll be interested to see how Malone utilizes the tight end. It’s possible that the new offensive will attract an upper level tight end prospect. Look for Purdue to sign 2 tight ends in this class.

Defensive End:

1. Tijaun Mason – 6’6 – 205 – Trezevant, TN – 3* - 81

2. Possible

3. Possible

Overall:

Tijaun Mason may have one of the highest upsides in the recruiting class. I’ve read that his weight is up to 220. He plays for one of the premier programs in the state of Tennessee, so you’ve got to think he’s getting good coaching. I look for Purdue to sign 1 more defensive end in this class, probably a bigger, strong side prospect, but it’s not a necessity. Purdue loses 3 defensive ends to graduation, but defensive end tends to be a place Purdue moves players, so signing 2-3 may not be a requirement.

Defensive Tackle:

1. Pending

2. Pending

3. Possible

Overall:

Purdue loses Jake Replogle after what seems like a decade in Gold and Black. Purdue signed 3 defensive tackle prospects in the last recruiting class, and it’s possible they do the same this year. You can never have enough big bodies to mold, especially when you are going after guys that need a little while to develop in the program. Replogle blowing up this season could help in bringing in some defensive tackle talent.

Linebacker:

1. Possible

Overall:

Purdue loses 2 linebackers, but our linebacker cup runneth over at the moment. With the new scheme putting only 2 linebackers on the field the majority of the time; Purdue will only sign a linebacker if they think he is an immediate game changer. They have already moved 2 linebackers out to defensive end in camp, so I don’t see it unless another Bentley falls in our lap.

Cornerback:

1. Dedrick Mackey – 5’11 – 165 – Booker T. Washington, FL – 3* - 85

2. Mitch West – 5’10 – 175 – Montini Catholic – 3* - 81

3. Marcus Jones – 5’7 – 155 – Enterprise, Al – 2* - 76

4. Possible

Overall:

The new defensive scheme puts a premium on defensive backs, so Purdue is once again signing a robust cornerback class. Purdue has essentially filled 3 different corner positions so far, and might be done, although a 4th signing isn’t out of the realm of possibility. My guess is that Mackey is going to be a boundary corner for Purdue, locking up an outside receiver. West was specifically recruited with the nickel position in mind. He’s more of a safety/corner highbred, which is what Coach Els is looking for at the position. Finally, Marcus Jones is tiny, but quick, and will probably play the dime corner position at Purdue, matching up with an opponent's smaller, quick receiver. I want to take a brief moment to discuss Marcus Jones. He has the lowest ranking of all the Purdue recruits, but is an important part of the recruiting class puzzle. Yes, if you expect him to go outside and cover a guy like DeAngelo Yancey, he’s in big trouble, but in Purdue’s new scheme, that’s not going to happen. He is a 2* player overall, but has the ability to play a specific role in the defense, and cover a specific type of player, and I believe he will out play his ranking in that role.

Safety:

1. Pending

2. Pending

3. Possible

Overall:

Safety is a position I look for the coaching staff to hit hard this year. They lose Gregory, Logan, and Clark to graduation. It also looks like Tim Cason has permanently moved to cornerback and Brandon Roberts may have locked down the nickel back role, therefore, numbers are needed at the position. This is another position that could be more attractive to recruits in the new defense, because the safeties will be asked to do more, and at least one safety will be closer to the line.

Final Thoughts:

Purdue’s success in recruiting so far has been somewhat surprising. I feel like it’s a real testament to the caliber of assistants Hazell somehow managed to bring in, and possibly a condemnation of the coaches that left. That said, this class will fall apart if Purdue struggles again this season. I think 6 wins and a fast start keeps it together at about this level, and 7 wins may even boost it a little at a few positions. Less than 6 wins means Hazell is looking for a new job and most of these guys are looking at other schools. Best case scenario, Hazell wins 7, cements his job, and this class helps him transition into the next phase of the rebuilding process. Hey, I know, I know, there is no evidence that this is possible, but stranger things have happened in sports. I choose to remain optimistic.