Today we have perhaps the face of Purdue football right now as one of the two players featured.
Markell Jones – So.
Columbus, IN (Columbus East HS)
5’11”, 210 pounds
2016 Projection: Starting running back
Markell Jones set a large number of records for rushing in the state of Indiana in high school. Does that mean he will leave Purdue as our best running back ever? In high school he scored 360 points in 2014 (fourth most in a single season in state history) and 774 in his career (also fourth in state history). His 2014 season of 3,536 yards is the best the state of Indiana has ever seen (and his 2013 season of 2,653 is 25th best all-time). He finished his career with 7,930 yards (180 from the all-time career record).
Now he can start taking aim at Mike Alstott’s records. That is basically the limit for him as we reach only his sophomore year. Last season he finished with 875 yards rushing and 10 TDs as well as 239 yards receiving and a TD. With a 12 game schedule (possibly 13 if he ever plays in a bowl game) Alstott’s season mark of 1,436 yards is not outside the realm of possibility). With a good year we can even dream of Alstott’s 3,635 yard career mark being in play before he is done.
There have been only eight 1,000 yard rushing season in Purdue history. Alstott and Otis Armstrong each own two of them. Leroy Keyes, Scott Dierking, Joey Harris, and Kory Sheets own the other four. Jones can, and probably should, get No. 9 this season. His 10 rushing TDs last year already has him tied for 15th on the single-season list. If he merely repeats his 11 TDs from last season He will climb into the top 20 for touchdowns scored in school history.
He is doing all of this while studying to become a pilot in Purdue’s school of Aviation. I know i can’t wait to see him fly up and down the field this year.
Kamal Hardy – Jr.
Pembroke Pines, FL (Monroe College)
6’, 190 pounds
2016 Projection: Contributor at cornerback
Hardy comes to us from South Florida, where he played for national power St. Thomas Aquinas in high school before going the JuCo route. He was brought in to compete immediately at a position of need, and he is currently involved in a three-way battle to start at the second CB spot.
Several schools were interested in him out of high school, such as Rutgers, Miami, Arkansas, and Michigan State. This was all while not even being eligible to play as a junior. He should provide necessary depth at minimum this coming season.