In a somewhat surprising turn of events, Steven Faucheux verbally committed to Purdue’s 2019 recruiting class last night. I can’t stress enough how important this commitment is for the Boilermakers. Defensive tackle is one of the hardest positions to recruit, because of the lack of truly elite interior linemen coming out of high school. There are only 5 4* defensive tackles in the Midwest in the 19’ class, making this an even more impressive recruiting coup for Purdue.
Let’s take a look at what exactly Faucheux brings to the table.
You can see in the film that Faucheux is a 3 technique defensive tackle. This means he is going to line up on the shoulder of a guard and look to penetrate the “B” gap (the space between the guard and tackle). Purdue utilizes multiple fronts, but when they line up in a base 4-3 or a 4-2 Purdue lines up a nose guard (over the center) and a 3 tech defensive tackle. For example, last season, Eddie Wilson and Lorenzo Neal played nose, while Gelen Robinson was used as the 3 technique.
The job of the 3 tech defensive tackle is to penetrate into the back field and disrupt either the run or the pass. This is where most teams play their most athletic defensive tackles.
If you want to compare Faucheux to Boilermakers past, I think he compares favorably to Ryan Baker or Jake Replogle. He’s not going to be a 300+ pound block eater, but instead will use his explosion and athleticism to attack from the defensive tackle position.
Faucheux is also a useful player when Purdue goes with their hybrid 3-4 look, as he can easily kick out and play end in the 3-4 when Purdue wants to disguise pressure. Versatility is key in Purdue’s defensive scheme. Having a guy that can play both inside and outside (as you see in his film) is crucial, and will help Purdue create chaos with their multiple fronts. You’ll notice that Purdue takes several “tweener” type Strong-Side defensive end / 3 tech defensive tackles for this exact reason.
I expect that Purdue will have a fight on their hands to keep Faucheux in the fold. As I mentioned, this isn’t a great year for elite defensive tackles. Purdue will have to fight off most of the “blue blood” programs in the Midwest. In particular, I expect Penn State to continue to make a push for Faucheux. The Nittany Lions don’t currently have a defensive tackle on board, and several of the top DT on their board have committed to other schools. I’m going to assume that James Franklin sees Penn State vs Purdue as a winnable battle.
That said, Faucheux fits perfectly into Purdue’s scheme, and the depth chart is wide open. Purdue has plenty to sell (as you can see by his commitment) and I think opposing coaches are going to be surprised at how hard it’s going to be flip some of Purdue’s top recruits.
Let’s all hope that Faucheux decides to sign in the early period.