We’ve reached the end! We’re 36 hours from kickoff, so here are the final two players on the countdown.
D.J. Knox - Sr.
Fairburn, GA (Creekside HS)
5’7”, 210 pounds
2018 Projection: Contributor at running back
Knox has had an interesting career. As a true freshman in 2014 he avoided a redshirt, but Darrell Hazell only played him on special teams. That led to three tackles and not a single carry. He did play in all 12 games, however.
The next season Knox won the starting running back job out of fall camp and started with a bang. He had 102 yards and a touchdown as well as 6 receptions and 36 yards in the loss at Marshall. The next week he had 91 yards against Indiana State, but with Markell Jones having a breakout year his carries diminished. He finished the year with 409 yards and two touchdowns and 189 yards on 26 receptions.
It looked like 2016 would be big, but Knox tore his ACL in the spring game and missed the entire season. Fortunately, he still had his redshirt available, so he took it. He came back to rush for 561 yards and two scores last season while adding 15 receptions for 138 yards and two more scores. He did much of his damage during Purdue’s late season run. His TD runs came against Illinois and Arizona, while his TD receptions came against Minnesota and at Iowa.
That makes him a key contributor in this year’s offense. Along with Jones and Tario Fuller Purdue has an experienced and deep backfield that should make a lot of noise.
Dedrick Mackey - Fr. (RS)
Miami, FL (Booker T. Washington HS)
5’11”, 185 pounds
2018 Projection: Contributor at cornerback
Mackey is coming out of his redshirt year and is embroiled in a battle to start at cornerback. Antonio Blackmon and Tim Cason were named the starters, but Mackey and Kenneth Major are pushing them.
In high school Mackey was a Second Team all-state selection down in Florida. He had a game-sealing interception against national power St. Thomas Aquinas. He was one of the top players in Miami-Dade county and even played in the Miami-Dade All-Star game. As for his Purdue highlights, he had a game-sealing interception in this year’s spring game.