Last season Purdue arguably got the most production possible out of its No. 21s. Anthony Mahoungou was the top receiver and Markus Bailey was one of our best defender. This year Mahoungou is in training camp with the Philadelphia Eagles, but Bailey is back.
Markus Bailey - Jr.
Columbus, OH (Hilliard Davidson HS)
6’1”, 240 pounds
2018 Projection: Team Captain, Starting Linebacker
Two and a half years into his career Bailey has been excellent. He actually played in three games as a true freshman in 2015 before a knee injury ended his season. He still had 12 tackles and preserved his redshirt, making him a redshirt freshman the next season.
Since then he has been a stalwart defensively for Purdue. In 2016 he had a team high 97 tackles, 6 for loss, and 4 interceptions while starting all 12 games. The four interceptions was also a team high, and his best game was against Indiana. He almost single-handedly won the Bucket game with eight tackles and two interceptions.
Last season was more of the same. He started all 13 games and had 89 tackles with 11 for loss and a team high seven sacks. He also recovered a fumble and his interception at Missouri set up Purdue’s second half touchdown.
He enters this year as Purdue’s top linebacker and he is probably among the best in the Big Ten. If he has a 100 tackle season he will climb into the top 20 all-time in school history. His 17 career tackles for loss has hime closing in on the top 20 of that list, and the same is true with his 7 career sacks. He needs 99 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, and 3 interceptions to reach the top 20 in all of those respective categories, which is damned impressive. That makes him an all-around defender and menace.
Jordan Bonner - Fr.
Carrollton, GA (Carrollton HS)
6’2”, 195 pounds
2018 Projection: Possible redshirt
Where bonner fits in this season will depend on how the receivers shake out in fall camp. It is a crowded group that is talented, but only a few have extensive experience. Last season in high school he finished with 26 receptions for 333 yards and 3 touchdowns for a team that had a strong running game. His team finished 10-3 and won a pair of games in the quarterfinals of the Georgia State Playoffs.
At Purdue, he is the type of receiver coach Brohm loves. He is a big player that can play on the outside. Should Terry Wright and Isaac Zico emerge this season with Rondale Moore, Jackson Anthrop, and Jarrett Burgess there probably won’t be a ton of playing time for Bonner, but he is a player to develop for the future.