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2017 National Signing Day: Purdue’s Wrap Up

Good news! Brohm did better than Hazell. Bad news: That wasn’t hard to do.

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

National Signing Day has started to wind down a bit and Coach Brohm’s first class is mostly in the books. We’re still waiting on a couple of players to make the deal official. The first is Tobias Larry, a linebacker from Kathleen High School in Florida who will sign later today:

The second player we’re waiting on is Mykelti Williams, who has long been rumored to be coming to Purdue, but nothing has been made official yet. Finally, graduate transfer Corey Winfield from Syracuse is still out there, but since he is a grad transfer he is not beholden to signing day. He can come at any time, and he has one year of eligibility left to use immediately.

First off, the following players were already signed before today and are enrolled for the spring semester:

T.J. Jallow – DB (JuCo Transfer with 2 years left)

Ethan Smart – OL (JuCo Transfer with 2 years left)

Kai Higgins – DE (JuCo Transfer with 3 years left)

Tyler Hamilton – WR

Jalen Jackson – OL

DJ Edwards – WR

There were four new commitments today, all of them linebackers:

Derrick Barnes – Barnes was an all-state selection and two-way player at Holy Cross High in Covington, KY. He had 126 tackles as a linebacker and as a running back he had 1,567 yards and 22 touchdowns. He brings speed and size to the field and seems like he will likely stay on the defensive side of the ball at Purdue.

Robert McWilliams – McWilliams comes literally from Da U’s backyard as he is from Coral Gables High down in Florida. At 6’3” 195 pounds he is likely a project at either defensive end or outside linebacker. He had a major conference offer from Pittsburgh and visited them this past weekend, but jumped to Purdue.

Cornell Jones – Jones is another linebacker from the Miami area, having attended Miami Central high. Colorado and South Carolina were trying to get the 6’2” 225 linebacker, but coach Brohm was able to get him on signing day.

Tobias Larry – Larry had offers from Illinois and Louisville as major conference programs, but he will sign with Purdue later today according to Twitter. He is a 6’2” 190 pound linebacker that is probably an immediate redshirt candidate. He was still a 3-star commitment according to 24/7.

So where does the class rank?

Well, according to both Rivals and 24/7 Purdue comes in at 67th nationally. It is not great, but it is a slight improvement over Darrell Hazell’s last classes. When you consider coach Brohm had about a month and a half to throw it together that is probably as good as we can expect. Hazell’s 2016 class was 74th on Rivals, his 2015 class was 71st, and his 2014 class was also 71st. Those were the three classes entirely recruited by Hazell (2013 had many Hope holdovers), so we’re already doing at least a little better. Many of these guys were players Brohm was recruiting at Western Kentucky, too.

In terms of the Big Ten Purdue’s class is dead last. There is not much you can say about that. Purdue has gone 3-29 in the Big Ten the last four years. It just made a mid-recruiting cycle hire. Getting out of the basement would have taken a small miracle from Brohm. Purdue is relatively close to Indiana for 13th, but the real recruiting test will be next fall and winter. The only thing that will truly help is winning more games.

That’s why Brohm was brought in.

Who are the instant impact guys?

T.J. Jallow was brought in to be an immediate starter in the secondary and he will be. ESPN has him listed as a 4-star prospect and if Williams and Winfield end up at Purdue the secondary will be a major, major strength with four really good starters.

Tyler Hamilton is also a 4-star commitment at wide receiver (per ESPN) and should play immediately, but you can say that of nearly every receiver Terry Wright and Isaac Zico are JuCo guys brought in to play right away. Overall, Purdue signed five receivers because it has very little depth at the position. Given the pass-happy offense Brohm wants to run, all five could play from day 1.

Ethan Smart will almost certainly be a starter at offensive guard as a JuCo transfer. Kai Higgins will probably see playing time on an incredibly thin defensive line. Freshman Allen Daniels may have to play out of necessity at defensive tackle because we just don’t have anyone else (more on that later).

As far as the other positions, well, when you go 9-39 over the last four years and have a new coach virtually every position should be up for grabs. There are very few spots where I would say Purdue has a stone cold lock starter at the position. Kirk Barron at center, David Blough at quarterback, Markell Jones at running back, and both Markus Bailey and Ja’Whaun Bentley at linebacker. That’s about it.

What spots were addressed the most

Purdue has several offensive linemen coming out of redshirt and it added five more in this class. That’s good and very necessary. With Martesse Patterson’s status still a question mark Purdue has only two definite starters returning. Both guards need to be replaced and to say the tackles underperformed last year is an understatement. There are several good prospects here, but it may take a redshirt year for Mark Stickford and Jalen Jackson to be ready.

Purdue needed serious depth at linebacker, with almost no experience behind the three projected starters. It got that depth in the form of five linebackers, as mentioned. We also talked about the receiver position, which was a major priority.

What was missing?

Purdue had a few guys back out at the last minute at defensive tackle, and it only added one in Allen Daniels. It is no secret that our run defense sucked out loud last year, and a dearth of talent (or even bodies) at defensive tackle will continue to be a major weakness. On the official roster going into the spring Purdue has seven defensive tackles. One (Will Colmery) is recovering from getting a brain tumor removed, has never played, and there are questions if he will EVER play. Two (Fred Brown and Keiwan Jones, are third and fourth year guys, respectively, that have played very little in their time here. Another, Anthony Watts, is coming out of his redshirt year. Eddy Wilson’s status has been all over the place as he was briefly off the team, but is now back on. Lorenzo Neal and Alex Criddle are raw sophomores that have talent, but are still young guys.

So the defensive tackle spot is basically as a full-on red alert crisis.

How does the scholarship chart look?

By my math, Purdue is two OVER the 85 scholarship limit before Winfield and Williams come on. That makes things very interesting, and it probably means some guys currently on the roster aren’t coming back. I can think of at least 4 seniors that have played or will play very little this coming season, so who knows. I don’t want to kick guys off the roster at all, but at the same time guys like Johnny Daniels, Keyante Green, Dezwan Polk-Campbell, and Keiwan Jones have done almost nothing in their time at Purdue.

Here is the chart as I have it right now, subject to change:

Purdue Football Scholarship Grid (Signing Day Update)

Player Position ('17-'18) ('18-'19) ('19-'20) ('20-'21)
Player Position ('17-'18) ('18-'19) ('19-'20) ('20-'21)
Corey Winfield CB
Da'Wan Hunte CB Senior (5)
Antoine Miles DE Senior (5)
Danny Ezechukwu LB Senior (5)
David Yancey RB Senior (5)
Dezwan Polk LB Senior (5)
Johnny Daniels OL Senior (5)
Keyante Green RB Senior (5)
Anthony Mahoungou WR Senior
Gelen Robinson DE Senior
Gregory Phillips WR Senior
Ja'Whaun Bentley LB Senior
Christopher Parker S Senior
Kamal Hardy CB Senior
Austin Larkin DE Senior
Jalen Neal OT Senior
Malik Kimbrough WR Senior
Dexter Knox RB Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Bearooz Yacoobi OL Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Brandon Roberts S Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Cole Herdman TE Junior (RS) Senior (5)
David Blough QB Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Keiwan Jones DT Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Kirk Barron C Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Martesse Patterson OT Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Tim Cason CB Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Will Colmery DT Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Rob Simmons DE Junior Senior
Ben Makowksi LS Junior Senior
TJ Jallow S Junior Senior
Ethan Smart OL Junior Senior
Joe Schopper P Junior Senior
Markell Jones RB Junior Senior
Eddy Wilson DT Junior Senior
Isaac Zico WR Junior Senior
Terry Wright WR Junior Senior
Mykelti Williams S
Markus Bailey LB Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Tario Fuller RB Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Andy Chelf S Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Brycen Hopkins TE Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Chazmyn Turner DE Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Elijah Sindelar QB Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Fred Brown DT Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Jess Trussell TE Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Matt McCann OT Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Michael Little CB Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Michael Mendez OL Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Peyton Truitt OL Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Richard Worship RB Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Sawyer Dawson LB Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Tim Faison DE Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Kai Higgins DE Sophomore Junior Senior
Josh Hayes CB Sophomore Junior Senior
Alex Criddle DT Sophomore Junior Senior
Navon Mosley S Sophomore Junior Senior
Jack Wegher RB Sophomore Junior Senior
J.D. Dellinger K Sophomore Junior Senior
Lorenzo Neal DT Sophomore Junior Senior
Terrance Landers WR Sophomore Junior Senior
Brian Lankford-Johnson RB Sophomore Junior Senior
Brandon Shuman CB Sophomore Junior Senior
Benaiah Franklin WR Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Anthony Watts DT Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Jared Sparks QB Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Grant Hermanns OL Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Simeon Smiley CB Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Tanner Hawthorne OL Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Semisi Fakasiieiki LB Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Jackson Anthrop WR Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Griffin Alstott QB Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Darius Pittman TE Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Nicholas Sipe QB Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Tyler Hamilton WR Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Dedrick Mackey DB Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Mark Stickford OL Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Jacob Abrams DB Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Jalen Jackson OG Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Giovanni Hightower-Reviere DE Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
D’Jaundrae Edwards WR Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Viktor Beach OL Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
DeShon Washington OL Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Kenneth Major DB Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Allen Daniels DT Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Keyron Catlett WR Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Derrick Barnes LB Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Robert McWilliams LB/DE Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Cornell Jones LB Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Tobias Larry LB Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Total Scholarships Left -2 14 33 58
Total Scholarships Used 87 71 52 27