Things remain in flux for Purdue’s 2017 recruiting class, as a procession of junior college players make their way to West Lafayette for visits. Coach Brohm has put a premium on the offensive and defensive line this recruiting cycle in an attempt to shore up one of Purdue’s most glaring weaknesses. There has been attrition in the offensive line class, with long time Hazel commit Robert Hudson leaving the fold this week. Even with the loss of Hudson, Purdue has 3 offensive linemen on the hook for the 2017 class.
Note: Height, weight, rankings etc…are from 247 Sports and videos are from Hudl.
School: Northeast Mississippi C.C. (Booneville, MS)
Composite Ranking: 82 – 3*
Position Ranking: 16 (JuCo)
Purdue had no answer at left tackle last season. Even when Martesse Patterson was available, he was a guard playing tackle. One of Coach Brohm’s first orders of business was to fix the left tackle issue. It’s hard to run an offense when your quarterback is more concerned with preserving life and limb than throwing the ball; enter Ethan Smart.
First and foremost, I like Smart taking care of business in the classroom and getting to Purdue for the spring semester. He’s getting Big10 level conditioning, nutrition, and coaching already, which is always a positive.
In JuCo, Smart played right tackle, but I expect him to get a long look on the left side. At 6’6, 290 he has prototypical tackle size, and appears to move his feet well on tape. He has good power in the run game and his pass sets look respectable. He’s going to need to get a little more bend against bigger, stronger defenders, but again, it really helps that he is on campus right now and can work technique. Barring injury, I expect to Smart to compete for a starting position at one of the tackle positions, preferable left tackle.
School: Carmel (Carmel, IN)
Composite Ranking: 81 – 3*
Position Ranking: 151
Stickford is an in state Hazel recruit that has stuck with the Boilers through the coaching change. A one-time wide receiver, Stickford continues to grow into an offensive lineman.
His tape is pretty much what you would expect from a former receiver. He is excellent at getting out on screens and has good feet in his pass drop. He’s going to have to get up to at least 280 pounds in order to keep from getting steam rolled by the bull rush (even then, 290-300 is ideal) but I like the fact that he will be getting bigger and stronger under the Purdue training staff. I think that many high school linemen probably should be around 250, but are carrying an extra 50 pounds of useless fat. Stickford is a developmental left tackle that will redshirt this year.
Highlights: (there are longer videos from last season available on his hudl page)
Composite Ranking: 81 – 3*
Position Ranking: 195
As an early high school graduate, Jackson joins Ethan Smart in getting a leg up on lifting, eating, and learning the playbook this spring. Originally committed to Western Kentucky, Jackson followed Coach Brohm to Purdue.
Jackson moves well in space. He uses his athleticism to pull from his right tackle position, and looks good moving outside on the stretch play. He’s going to have to hit the training table and weight room hard before he has an opportunity to see the field in the Big10. Jackson is currently projected at tackle, but is a little on the short side for the position. I would love to see him take his superior athleticism to the interior of the line and crush people as a pulling guard. He will almost certainly redshirt this season.
Overall: As of now, this class features an instant impact player in Smart, and two developmental players with solid athleticism. Smart’s development will be crucial for the 2017 season.
Purdue has quite a bit of depth on the roster and I don’t see them taking another offensive lineman in this class.