Purdue’s top linebacker is back and is hoping for a completely healthy season, while our other No. 4 is a grad transfer from Notre Dame.
Ja’Whaun Bentley – Sr.
Glenarden, MD (DeMatha Catholic HS)
6’2”, 260 pounds
2017 Projection: Starting Middle Linebacker
Through three years Bentley has had a distinguished career even if it has been marred by injury. He started immediately as a true freshman in 2014 and finished with 76 tackles, 3 fumble recoveries, and an interception. That was enough to get him named to the true freshman All-America team by ESPN and USA Today.
Unfortunately, the Purdue curse got him. The next season he tore his ACL after 5 games and missed the rest of the year. He came back last season and was banged up enough to miss three games. He still finished with 50 tackles, 10 of them coming in the season finale against Indiana.
Bentley is expected to be the heart of the defense and one of Purdue’s most important defenders. The middle linebacker position is often considered the quarterback of the defense and with a linebacker-oriented attack he should thrive.
Corey Holmes – Jr.
Pembroke Pines, FL (Monroe College)
6’1”, 190 pounds
2017 Projection: Contributor at Wide Receiver
Holmes was a highly recruited receiver that didn’t pan out well at Notre Dame. He played in two games as a true freshman in 2014, but redshirted the 2015 season. Last year was his best, as he played in every game for the Irish and caught 11 passes for 96 yards.
The good thing is that he got his degree. It took some time, as he didn’t finish course work for his degree until late July, but it meant he could come to Purdue with two years of eligibility to fulfill his 4-star potential. That potential is there too. He was originally one of the top 100 recruits in the country, so if he pans out at Purdue with the wealth of passes that will come his way that will mean very good things.