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Purdue Football Recruiting: Indiana 2020

College Football Recruiting Never Sleeps

NCAA Football: Purdue at Indiana Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

According to the 247 Composite Index, there were 6 consensus 4* players from the Indiana high school graduating class of 2019, including 2 “elite” (95 ranking or higher) prospects in George Karlaftis and David Bell. The 2019 class, at least on paper, was historically good in terms of Indiana talent. What makes the 2019 class even more interesting, is that 5 out of the 6 4* players chose to remain in-state, with offensive tackle Joe Tippmann from Bishop Dwenger being the only player to sign out of state (Wisconsin).

The 2014 Indiana graduating class also produced 6 consensus 4* players, but only 1 “elite” prospect. 3 of those prospects decided to stay in-state, but 2 of them went to Notre Dame, which demands to be an independent, and therefore (in my opinion) is now a school without a state.

While the 2019 class appears to be historically good on paper, the 2020 appears to be historically weak. It’s still early in the evaluation process, so that could obviously change, but right now, top talent is looking sparse.

Note: All rankings from 247 Composite

1. Cole Brevard - DT - 4* (95) - 6’3, 280 - Carmel (Carmel, HS)

At this point in the talent evaluation process, Brevard is the only “elite” level talent in Indiana for 2020. Brevard would be a great fit for Purdue’s defensive scheme as either a run stuffing nose guard (think Neal) or a penetrating 3 technique (think Watts). Right now he looks more like a 3 technique but that could obviously change as he fills out. Either way, he’s got the type of talent Purdue desperately needs on the interior of the defensive line.

Brevard, unfortunately, looks like a guy that’s interested in being a national level recruit. Oregon is his projected leader, but that’s probably just a shot in the dark. Purdue is going to need to increase their national profile and put together a great 2020 season to get in on Brevard. The Boilermakers best hope is for Brevard to sign later on in the process and give the coaching staff and the new look defense a chance to show him that West Lafayette is a nice place for a blue chip defensive lineman.

2. Gus Hartwig - OC - 3* (88) - 6’5, 275 - Zionsville (Zionsville High School)

Purdue values tall, athletic linemen, and Hartwig certainly looks like a player that would fit the Purdue mold. At the moment, Hartwig’s recruiting has remained regional, with Purdue, Indiana and Vanderbilt listed as his only Power 5 offers. That will probably change as things move along.

Purdue will look to take at least 5 offensive linemen in the 2020 class, and pulling in a solid in-state athlete like Hartwig would be a great snag for the Boilermakers. I would love to see the Purdue make their move early on Hartwig before some of the other regional players start sniffing around.

3. Josh Fryar - OC - 3* (87) - 6’4, 295 - Beech Grove (Beech Grove High School)

Fryar’s recruitment has blown up over the past few weeks. He’s picked up offers from Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio State on top of his previous offers from schools like Oregon and Florida State. Just looking at his offer list, I doubt he’ll remain a 3* much longer. Purdue was in early with Fryar, but will obviously have a ton of work to do if they want to fight off the long line of blue bloods knocking on his door.

Fryar will get a chance to see Purdue’s offensive line development skills in action this year. After two years of plugging holes with grad transfers and Hazell players, 2019 will be the first seasion Brohm recruited and developed linemen will crack the starting lineup. A good showing from Purdue’s newly minted interior line would go a long way in convincing Fryar that he can stay in-state, develop as a player, and win big.

4. Deontae Craig - DE - 3* (86) - 6’4, 250 - Culver (The Culver Academies)

Craig is a high upside defensive end that fits what Purdue and Nick Holt are looking for in a defensive line prospect. He reminds me a good bit of ‘19 Purdue recruit Sulaiman Kpaka, because he’s a power pass rusher in need of a little refinement. He is everything you want physically, and once his technique catches up, he’s going to be a handful at either strong side defensive end or 3 tech defensive tackle. Craig is just scratching the surface of his potential on the football field.

Tennessee was the first to offer Craig, followed by Indiana, Michigan State, Purdue, and Northwestern, he’s also made unofficial visits to both Ohio State and Michigan, so he’s not exactly flying under the radar. Craig is the type of prospect Purdue needs to keep at home and develop. There will be plenty of competition, but that’s the way it’s going to be for Purdue prospects from now on. If we want to play big boy football, we’ve got to keep guys like Craig in-state.

5. Roman Purcell - QB - 3* (85) - 6’1, 190 - Indianapolis (Warren Central)

Purcell is an interesting prospect, but unless he’s willing to move to wide receiver or play in the secondary, Purdue isn’t going to play a factor. It’s not that Purcell isn’t an excellent player, because he is, it’s just that he doesn’t fit quarterback type Brohm recruits to Purdue. Purcell is a dual threat, scrambling quarterback and Brohm tends to recruit tall pocket passers.

Purdue hasn’t offered Purcell, and I don’t anticipate they will unless he’s down for a position switch. Let’s just hope he doesn’t go to Indiana.

6. David Baker - WR/S - 3*(85) - 6’2, 185 - Indianapolis (Scecina Memorial)

Baker has the physical attributes Purdue is looking for in an outside wide receiver. He’s rangy, fast, and can go up and get the ball. The Boilermakers are going to be selective at wide receiver this class after over signing the position (especially if you add David Bell) but it appears they are going hard after Baker. JaMarcus Shephard is Baker’s primary recruiter, so I think Purdue’s looking at him at wide receiver, but he’s also a intriguing safety prospect. Either way, he’s the type of athlete you want in your program.

Purdue and Iowa have the most traction in Baker’s recruitment. Iowa has been a giant thorn in Purdue’s side in Indianapolis recently, and Purdue must control Indianapolis recruiting if they want to make a move up the Big10 pecking order. Brohm can’t lose recruits like Baker to Iowa anymore.

7. Ty Wise - OLB - 3* (84) - 6’2, 210 - Carmel (Carmel High School)

Wise is an athletic linebacker prospect that should pick up more interest if he tests well at camps. Right now, Wise is seen as a developmental linebacker that needs to fill out his frame or move back a row and play strong safety. He’s a player that’s on Purdue’s radar, and I think he will eventually receive an offer. He is similar to Purdue ‘19 recruits Chrishawn Long and Chase Tripplet.

Wise’s only Power 5 offer right now is from Indiana, who is apparently setting up shop in Carmel (which isn’t surprising). He also holds offers from Ball State and Toledo. Wise made the Midwest circuit of unofficial visits this season, which included an unofficial to Purdue. I think teams are waiting to see what he looks like as a Senior before offering.

8. Ryan Brandt - S - 3* (84) - 6’1, 200 - Angola (Angola High School)

Brandt is probably a name you should keep in the back of your head, because if I were going to bet on Purdue’s first 2020 commit, it would be Ryan Brandt. When you watch his film, it’s hard not to compare him to current Boilermaker safety Jacob Thieneman. He’s a hitter that is probably better served hanging around the line of scrimmage than in deep coverage.

Purdue offered Brandt after he showed out at the Purdue camp in June. The Boilermakers are currently Brandt’s only offer, and I expect him to pull the trigger sooner rather than later. Two of 247’s big recruiting guys have predicted Brandt to Purdue for quite some time, and I don’t see that changing unless a team like Notre Dame jumps in soon.

9. Nathaniel James - DT - 3* (83) - 6’0, 250 - Avon (Avon High School)

I’m not going to spend much time on James, because I would be shocked if he ended up at Purdue. Notice his last name and his high school. There is another James from Avon in the ‘19 class that is heading to Indiana. Now, I don’t actually know if they’re related, but logic seems to dictate they at least know each other fairly well.

James is a good player, but at 6’0, doesn’t fit the Purdue defensive line template of tall, multi-positional players. It doesn’t really matter though, because he’s going to I.U.

10. Kenny Tracy - RB - 3* (83) - 5’11, 165 - Indianapolis (Decatur Central)

Kenny Tracy is the 3rd Tracy to come out of Decatur Central in the last 3 years. So far, Purdue is 0/2, with Tyrone going to Iowa and Larry going to Indiana, but since the Tracy family is providing most of the the Big10 with talent, Kenny going to Purdue only makes sense.

247 has Tracy listed at 5’11, 165, but Rivals has him listed at 6’0, 190. The truth is probably somewhere in between. Purdue took two backs in the ‘19 class, and I expect the ‘20 class to be similar, but I don’t think Tracy is at the top of the recruiting board right now. He currently holds and offers from Central Michigan and Western Michigan. Even if Purdue does offer, as I mentioned before, the Boilermaker’s haven’t had any luck with the Tracy family for some reason. I don’t see Kenny as Boilermaker, but I’ve been wrong before.

11. Randy Holtz - OT - 3* (80) - 6’6, 345 - Fort Wayne (R. Nelson Snider)

I’m throwing Hotz in as a bonus because 247 thinks he’s one of the top 10 players in Indiana, and he’s shown significant interest in Purdue. Hotz is an absolute monster. He’s another guy that 247 and Rivals disagree on in terms of weight. 247 has him listed at 6’6, 345 and Rivals has him at 6’7, 310. Purdue would want him closer to 310 than 345. If the Boilermakers took Hotlz as one of their 5 (please, please, please) offensive linemen in this cycle, I wouldn’t be sad. I can see him being a solid developmental project at either right tackle or guard.

Holtz currently holds a Purdue and Boston College offer along with 3 other MAC level offers. Strangely enough, he has a better offer list than several players rated higher in Indiana. His size alone is worth a look, but he also moves fairly well for a man of his stature. His crystal ball on 247 says Purdue right now, and obviously that can change, but I think Holtz will end up a Boilermaker.