Generally, when a new coach is hired the third recruiting class is when things should really get going. The first class is usually an amalgam of the previous coach and the new guy. The second is effected by the first season on the field, good or bad. By year three the new coach is established and has his plan in place. He is starting to show some results with his own guys on the field and hopefully the record is improving.
Purdue’s 2015 recruiting class, Hazell’s third, is entering its third season on campus. These are guys that, if they have not been starters or quality reserves already, should be developing into such players. Let’s see what we have in this class:
2015 Recruiting Class
Rivals Ranking: 71 nationally, 14th in Big Ten
247 Ranking: 65, 14th in Big Ten
In terms of sheer numbers this was Hazell’s largest class. It still didn’t help raise the class out of last place in the Big Ten. It consisted of 12 3-star recruits and 14 2-star commitments. Coming into this class Purdue was a dismal 4-20 under Hazell, but at least looked better for much of the 2014 season. This class needed to be the game changer. It needed to have instant impact guys that could fill the holes from the previous season and get Purdue over the top.
Andy Chelf – DB – 2-star – Chelf has had a tumultuous time in West Lafayette. He has yet to really play at all thanks to a torn ACL. He came from Texas power Southlake and might have been a diamond in the rough type of player. Instead, his future is in doubt. He can’t stay healthy, and after recovering a fumble in the spring game he was shot in an off-campus incident just a few weeks ago. Deep Reserve
Anthony Mahoungou – WR – 3-star – Mahoungou came to Purdue as a speedy receiver project from a junior college with three years of eligibility. Since then, his play has been spotty. He had a decent first game at Marshall with 4 catches for 59 yards, but has been used sparingly since. He comes into this year as one of Purdue’s most experienced receivers, but with just 21 career receptions for 192 yards. Reserve
Ben Makowski – LS – 2-star – Makowski has continued Purdue’s proud long snapping tradition with flawless play. A starter from day 1, Purdue has not had any problems with him. Starter
Brycen Hopkins – TE – 2-star – Hopkins redshirted in 2015 and had a solid 2016 as a redshirt freshman at tight end. He is a huge target in the receiving game, and he finished last season with 10 receptions for 183 yards and 4 touchdowns. Expect him to be used even more in the passing game this coming season. Starter
Chazmyn Turner – DE – 2-star – Turner has yet to play and will not in 2017. He redshirted his first year and was also arrested on alcohol & marijuana charges in October 2015. A few weeks ago coach Brohm announced he would miss the season with a knee injury as well. Deep Reserve/Injured
David Rose – DB – 2-star – Rose played in five games as a reserve in 2015 as a true freshman and three last year. All told, he has just two tackles. In September of 2015 he was arrested for removing locks from bicycles. His playing time was virtually non-existent after that and he has since left the team. Transfer
Domonique Young – WR – 2-star – Domo was a two-year JuCo guy that evolved into a solid starter in his time. He finished his career with 50 receptions for 614 yards and 2 TDs before obliterating his knee last year at Illinois. It is too bad, too. He was having an excellent season up to that point with 29 catches for 338 yards and a touchdown. Starter, Graduated
Eddy Wilson – DT – 3-star – Wilson has shown some excellent potential in his first two years. He had 10 tackles in nine games as a true freshman, then followed that up with 36 tackles (6 for loss) and 2.5 sacks last season along with a fumble recovery. He enters this season as a definite starter at a position of major need. Starter
Elijah Sindelar – QB – 3-star – A 4-star QB by some services, Sindelar suffered a major blow early on with a torn ACL in his final high school game. That helped lead to a redshirt as a freshman, but that was probably a good thing in the long run. Last year he served as the No. 2 quarterback and he completed 14 of 32 passes for 165 yards and 3 interceptions. This year he is battling Jared Sparks for the backup QB role. Reserve
Evyn Cooper – ATH – 3-star – Cooper formed a good friendship with Rose. Too good, as they were arrested in the same incident in 2015. He played in one game, at Marshall as a true freshman, and has since left the team. Transfer
Fred Brown – DT – 2-star – Brown redshirted as a true freshman and did not play at all last year even when we needed defensive tackles. He enters this season way down on the depth chart. Deep Reserve
Jess Trussell – TE – 2-star – Trussell redshirted in his first year and has evolved into a reserve blocking TE. In Brohm’s new system he could play a little more, but while Hopkins is the receiver, Trussell is a better blocker on the edge. Reserve
Joe Schopper – P – 2-star – Purdue needed a punter and it got one. Schopper has been fine in the role for two years. Last year he averaged 40.7 yards per punt and downed 24 of 56 inside the 20. Starter
Larry Wells – OL – 3-star – Wells never even made it to Purdue, as he was an academic casualty and never enrolled. Too bad, because we could definitely use him. Academic Casualty
Markell Jones – RB – 3-star – One of the best running backs in Indiana high school history, Jones established a new freshman rushing record at Purdue with 875 yards and 10 TDs in 2015. Last season an early shoulder injury limited him to only 616 yards. He enters this year in a crowded backfield, but with nearly 1,500 yards rushing in two seasons he could still leave Purdue as one of our best running backs ever. Starter
Markus Bailey – LB – 3-star – Bailey played as a reserve before tearing his ACL in 2015. Fortunately, it was early enough to still claim his redshirt. Last season he led Purdue with 97 tackles and 4 interceptions. With three years left, he looks to be an excellent player and a solid defender to build around. Starter, fringe all-conference
Matt McCann – OL – 3-star – As a redshirt freshman last season McCann was a starter, but struggled at times as a tackle. He should again start this year after missing the spring with an injury, but he needs to be better. Purdue cannot afford him to struggle when he is one of its most experienced linemen. Starter
Michael Little – DB – 3-star – In two years Little has played one game. He is very far down on the depth chart in a secondary that needs a few starters, too. Deep Reserve
Michael Mendez – OL – 2-star – Last season as a redshirt freshman Mendez was a versatile reserve, playing both guard and tackle. This year he will almost certainly be a starter, probably at guard. He has evolved into a good lineman and Purdue does not have many of those. Starter
Peyton Truitt – OL – 2-star – The townie from West Lafayette has played a little as a reserve, but could evolve into a starter at guard this season opposite Mendez. He has been behind both McCann and Mendez as linemen in this class, however. Reserve
Richie Worship – RB – 3-star – Worship was banged up last year as a redshirt freshman, but still ran for 133 yards and a pair of scores. He joins Jones and several others looking for carries in the new offense that will likely feature a lot of running backs this season. Contributor
Sawyer Dawson – LB – 3-star – Dawson had a tackle in four games last year as a redshirt freshman. This year he will likely be a reserve with four quality linebackers ahead of him, but he is a player to develop for the future. Deep Reserve
Shayne Henley – DE – 2-star – Henley was a 2-year JuCo brought in to be an immediate pass rushing fix and really did not do a whole lot. He had 10 tackles and one sack in 18 career games. Reserve, Graduated
Tario Fuller – RB – 2-star – In his redshirt year Fuller made good headlines off the field when he ran into a family at Target in Lafayette and performed a great random act of kindness. Last season he had 30 yards rushing and 51 receiving as a redshirt freshman. This season he will also be part of that crowded backfield. Reserve
Tim Faison – DE – 2-star – In two years Faison has not played at all and has been on and off the roster. For now he is currently on the roster, but not expected to do much. Deep Reserve
Wyatt Cook – LB – 3-star – Cook played in three games and had two tackles last season as a redshirt freshman, but has since left the program. His brother, Wes Cook, is a senior walk-on transfer safety from East Carolina. Transfer
Expected 2017 Starters at Purdue: 8
Other contributors for 2017: 5
2-year JuCo guys gone: 2
Never made it to Purdue: 1
Deep Reserve/Not expected to contribute: 6
Still on Purdue’s roster: 18
This has been a very hit or miss class. Makowski and Schopper have us set as specialists for two more years. Bailey and Jones are very, very good players that could play for almost anyone else in the conference. Mendez and McCann will have to be the anchors of the offensive line, while Wilson has a lot of promise up front.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of dead weight in this class too. We lost a pair of guys mostly due to off the field incidents, and when you have 10 guys still on the roster who can’t start at Purdue (who has been the worst team in the conference for four years) that is not a good sign. Sure, Worship and Truitt could still provide some good contributions, but overall this was a low rated class that hasn’t developed as much as we would like.
That will be the test for Brohm. Many of these guys still have three years left. They will be the ones that his staff can truly develop into contributors this coming season. If not, they will be passed over by Brohm guys.