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Avoiding the Redshirt: Which True Freshmen Are Playing?

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NCAA Football: Ohio at Purdue Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Brohm has done wonders with the returning players that were recruited by Darrell Hazell. Anthony Mahoungou and Gregory Phillips have taken the negative of being recruited over and become reliable receivers. Keiwan Jones, an afterthought under Hazell, has emerged as much-needed depth at defensive tackle. Tario Fuller is leading the team in rushing after having a solid first game last year and little else. It is exciting to watch as Brohm greatly improves the team he inherited.

What about the true freshmen though? Yes, Brohm brought in a whopping six graduate transfers and numerous JuCo guys who are contributing, but there are still 19 true freshmen that signed. Not all of them are redshirting, either. Here are the guys that have contributed from day 1 so far:

KeyRon Catlett – WR – He has yet to catch a pass, but Catlett has become the primary kickoff returner since Markell Jones was injured. So far he has 5 returns for 62 yards, but he had none vs. Missouri as the opening kickoff was a touchback and their only score was the final play of the first half.

Derrick Barnes – LB – With three senior linebackers Purdue needs to develop depth for the future and so far Barnes has done well. He has played in two games against Ohio and Missouri as a reserve and has been productive with six tackles.

Cornel Jones – LB – Jones is in the same boat as Barnes and has only played in one game so far, but he has a pair of tackles. Both of those came against Missouri as Purdue had an entire fourth quarter to play reserves.

Tobias Larry – LB – Larry has also played only against Ohio and Missouri, but he had his first career tackle at Mizzou. I would think that normally all three of these guys would redshirt, but the need is there now for depth, so they need experience for next season.

Darius Pittman – TE – The final true freshman to see the field is Pittman, who has been listed on the depth chart each week, but only played against Ohio. He has yet to record any stats, but coach Brohm has mentioned his play several times as being too good to redshirt this year. We can likely expect to see him more, at least in a blocking role, later on.