Today will start my five day series of splitting the seniors up by position group and thanking them for all they have done for our up and coming program. These seniors were recruited in the middle of the Hazell Era and I feel for them. The fact that they toughed it out through four or five years, 2 or 3 being with Hazell and then the last two with Coach Brohm shows their grit and fortitude.
It would have been easy for these guys to up and leave in the middle of a stretch that was some of the worst Purdue Football in history, or they could have transferred when Coach Brohm was hired on.
But, they didn’t and the offensive backfield has four memorable players, some I think we will remember for a long time.
David Blough - Quarterback
Aaron Banks - Quarterback
D.J. Knox - Running Back
Markell Jones - Running Back
These four gentlemen were mainstays in a backfield that had a lot of movement 3 years ago. Quarterback transferred every year and running backs either transferred or stopped played football. But, not this group. Let me talk about each one individually.
David Blough: The captain earned his title. He has fought through adversity, butt chewings from Coach Brohm and has been a big reason why we are on the verge of another bowl berth. Last year, after it seemed like he locked up the starting quarterback job against Illinois, he broke his ankle. He came back and has been better than ever. David has been a Boilermaker, on and off the field. He represents the Purdue name so great, I often see him in the community helping out. He was the player that spoke on the Tyler Trent Special on gameday. He is a God fearing man. He is a damn good football player.
Many of us wrote him off at the start of the season, he started slow when we had the rotation at quarterback again. We wrote him off because Elijah finished so strong. That didn’t stop him, he didn’t transfer and play his 5th year anywhere else. He is a Boilermaker. We appreciate you David, thank you for giving us all of the memories, especially you carving up that Ohio State defense. You are the captain and you earned that title.
Replacement: Elijah Sindelar
Aaron Banks: While he didn’t see the field much, Aaron is one of the most popular players on the team and campus. He came to Purdue to walk on the football team and study Industrial Engineering. How many college athletes can say they went to one of the top engineering schools in the nation and completed 5 years on the football team. It is truly amazing.
Aaron is the student body President of Purdue also. Meaning, he represents all of the students at Purdue University. That shows another level of dedication as well. On his career he has a 100% completion percentage. In 2015, against IU, he was 1 for 1, with 4 yards. Congratulations Aaron on finishing a great Purdue career. We are proud to have you as a Boilermaker Brother.
D.J. Knox: The bowling ball of the backfield. D.J. Knox. The perfect combination of speed and power. He is listed at 5’7”, but after talking to Coach Barclay this spring, he said that is being generous. If you recall, in the spring game of 2016, D.J. tore his ACL. Some worried he would never be the same. Well, he was even better when he came back. Last year, he started in 5 games and carried the ball for 561 yards on 90 carries, over 6 yards per carry. With his most memorable performance of 2017 being against Arizona in the bowl game, where he had 11 carries for 101 yards.
D.J. has always been another great representative of Purdue. He is another community guy, as he has been in elementary schools around the area to meet the kids. D.J., thank you for all of the memories you have given us. The two huge runs late vs Ohio State and just being a damned good human being. We appreciate you and will miss you.
Replacement: Richie Worship
Markell Jones: Last but no least is former Indiana Mr. Football, Markell Jones. Markell has played in all four seasons at Purdue. He has done a great job of being one of the most consistent players in Purdue football history. For his career, he will end up finishing with over 2400 yards rushing. He had an outstanding freshman year, then was hurt his sophomore season. In a timeshare backfield these past two seasons under Coach Brohm, Markell is close to 900 yards rushing.
Markell decided to stay in state and become a household name at Purdue. The coolest thing about Markell though, is that he has been going to school for flight technology. With Purdue being one of the top schools in Aviaton, he made the right decision to get his degree at home. Markell, thank you for all of the memories, we will see you in an airport some day.
Replacement: Tario Fuller
Thank you to these four seniors that have made such a great impact at Purdue University. We look forward to your lifelong accomplishments!