Today is full of welcomes. We welcome Purdue football back tomorrow. We welcome a top running back in his return to the lineup after missing last season. We also welcome a freshman defensive back.
D.J. Knox – Jr.
Fairburn, GA (Creekside HS)
5’7”, 210 pounds
2017 Projection: Contributor at Running Back
Knox surprised many two years ago by winning the starting running back job out of camp. Even though he avoided a redshirt as a true freshman in 2014 he had only played on special teams. He started six games in 2015 and rushed for 408 yards and two scores. He also caught 26 passes for 189 yards and even returned two kicks for 46 yards.
Unfortunately, he tore his ACL during spring football of 2016 and was lost for the entire season. That is where his redshirt came in handy, as he had it available. He now has two years of eligibility left and he should get plenty of chances to play this season. He will likely split carries with several other backs in the backfield. He also may work on returning kickoffs.
Dedrick Mackey – Fr.
Miami, FL (Booker T. Washington HS)
5’11”, 175 pounds
2017 Projection: Possible redshirt
Will Mackey earn playing time this year? He is one of several cornerbacks attempting to nail down a spot on the two-deep. He was one of the top corners in Miami-Dade county last season and was a Second team All-State selection. He finished the year with 71 tackles and four pass breakups. He also had the game-clinching interception in a win over St. Thomas Aquinas.
As a bigger DB, Mackey is the type that should thrive in what coach Brohm wants to do on defense. If he has speed and good cover skills he will earn playing time this season.