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2018 Purdue Football Recruiting: Where We Stand Before Early Signing Day

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Purdue is starting to feel the scholarship crunch a bit.

NCAA Football: Minnesota at Purdue Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

Next Wednesday a free-for-all begins. College football now has an early signing period much like basketball has had for years. In addition to the regular period in early February football now has a very brief (December 20-22) window in which teams can lock in its recruits a few weeks earlier than normal. This is the first year for the early period, and it has been a new experience for everyone. Even Nick Saban has been up front on the difficulty of trying to figure out the signing logistics and nailing down recruits at a time when most schools are also going through bowl preparation.

It hasn’t been easy for Jeff Brohm and his staff. He’s been traveling all over trying to nail down his class all while preparing to play Arizona in the Foster Farms Bowl just a week after this new signing day. Currently Purdue’s class ranks 39th on Rivals nationally and 9th in the Big Ten. Modest numbers to be sure, but after Hazell struggled to finish above 70 (56 in 2013 with mostly Hope guys, 71st in 2014, 68th in 2015, and 73rd in 2016) nationally and was never higher than 13th in the Big Ten, this class is easily the best we have had in years.

So where do we stand with it? According to Rivals we have 21 commitments. ESPN lists us at 19, and 247 lists us at 21. Since GBI does far superior work on recruiting compared to us we’ll go with their list of 21 commitments. They are at the bottom of the scholarship grid here, with 20 of them being true freshmen next fall and one being junior college linebacker Evander Craft.

Purdue Scholarship Grid December 12

Player Position ('18-'19) ('19-'20) ('20-'21) ('21-'22) ('22-'23)
Player Position ('18-'19) ('19-'20) ('20-'21) ('21-'22) ('22-'23)
Shane Evans OG Grad Transfer
Spencer Evans K Grad Transfer
Dexter Knox RB Senior (5)
Bearooz Yacoobi OL Senior (5)
Cole Herdman TE Senior (5)
David Blough QB Senior (5)
Keiwan Jones DT Senior (5)
Kirk Barron C Senior (5)
Tim Cason CB Senior (5)
Jacob Theineman S Senior (5)
Rob Simmons DE Senior
Ben Makowksi LS Senior
TJ Jallow S Senior
Ethan Smart OL Senior
Joe Schopper P Senior
Markell Jones RB Senior
Eddy Wilson DT Senior
Isaac Zico WR Senior
Ray Ellis DT Senior
Terry Wright WR Senior
Markus Bailey LB Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Tario Fuller RB Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Andy Chelf S Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Brycen Hopkins TE Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Chazmyn Turner DE Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Elijah Sindelar QB Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Jess Trussell TE Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Matt McCann OT Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Michael Little CB Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Michael Mendez OL Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Peyton Truitt OL Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Richard Worship RB Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Sawyer Dawson LB Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Kai Higgins DE Junior Senior
Josh Hayes CB Junior Senior
Alex Criddle DT Junior Senior
Navon Mosley S Junior Senior
Jack Wegher RB Junior Senior
J.D. Dellinger K Junior Senior
Lorenzo Neal DT Junior Senior
Brian Lankford-Johnson RB Junior Senior
Brandon Shuman CB Junior Senior
Benaiah Franklin WR Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Anthony Watts DT Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Jared Sparks WR Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Grant Hermanns OL Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Simeon Smiley CB Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Tanner Hawthorne OL Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Semisi Fakasiieiki LB Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Jackson Anthrop WR Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Keyron Catlett WR Sophomore Junior Senior
Derrick Barnes LB Sophomore Junior Senior
Darius Pittman TE Sophomore Junior Senior
Cornell Jones LB Sophomore Junior Senior
Tobias Larry LB Sophomore Junior Senior
Griffin Alstott QB Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Robert McWilliams LB/DE Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Nicholas Sipe QB Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Tyler Hamilton WR Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Dedrick Mackey DB Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Mark Stickford OL Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Jacob Abrams DB Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Jalen Jackson OG Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Giovanni Hightower-Reviere DE Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
D’Jaundrae Edwards WR Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Viktor Beach OL Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
DeShon Washington OL Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Kenneth Major DB Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Allen Daniels DT Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Jaylan Alexander LB Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Jack Plummer QB Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Elijah Ball DB Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Kadin Smith DB Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Charles Allen OG Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Jack Cravaack TE Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Byron Perkins CB Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Eric Miller OT Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Lawrence Johnson DT Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Will Bramel OL Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Jimmy McKenna OL Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Willie Lane DE Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Jordan Bonner WR Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
K.J. Stokes DE Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Branson Deen DE Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Jack Sullivan DE Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Evander Craft LB Junior Senior
Amad Anderson WR Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Jordan Rucker CB Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Tayvonn Kyle WR Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Cory Trice DB Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
George Karlaftis DE Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Total Scholarships Left -5 14 37 50 84
Total Scholarships Used 90 71 48 35 1

The first thing that stands out to me here, assuming all 21 sign next week (and most of them will), is that scholarship number. Purdue would be 5 over the limit (and we have until next fall to figure it all out) while still pursuing other targets like Rondale Moore and several running backs (we currently do not have a committed running back).

This tells me that the attrition of last spring/summer will very likely happen again. Naturally, there will be some losses to grades and such, but we have seen that Brohm is not afraid to be honest with guys. Keyante Green, David Yancey, Johnny Daniels, and Dezwan Polk-Campbell were all seniors that left a year on the table and departed the program.

Per our chart we don’t have a ton of seniors that would expect to have little or no playing time in 2018. Rob Simmons would be the only multi-year guy that has not played a ton, but he is in line to take over Danny Ezechukwu’s hybrid LB/DE role. He certainly has a chance to play next season.

Naming anyone as a potential departure at this point is complete speculation, but there have to be some departures. It is very likely there will be several, especially if Brohm is still actively expanding this class. We’ll likely be on the lookout for several commitments going into February.

Another significant number is the number of Brohm guys vs. Hazell guys on next year’s roster. In only year two Brohm stands to have at least 54 guys he recruited (or at least saw enough to retain from Hazell’s 2017 class “work”). This includes remaining grad transfers Shane Evans and Spencer Evans, JuCo guys like Kai Higgins, Isaac Zico, Terry Wright, and Ethan Smart, and the guys he was able to redshirt this year. We also can’t forget that the 2019 class has started with 4-star George Karlaftis already on board.

So the situation is obviously fluid. As we get word of departures we’ll update the list, but don’t be surprised if we start to see that scholarship situation even out a bit after fall grades are posted next week.