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Purdue Football Recruiting: Good Job, Now Do It Again

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The 2020 class is going to be tough for Purdue

Purdue v Minnesota Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The 2019 class is, for all intents and purposes, wrapped up for Jeff Brohm and the Purdue Boilermakers. There could be a surprise addition before the final signing day, but the odds of that happening are low considering the limited (yet growing) scholarships available for the 2020 class.

The 2019 class, on paper, is one of Purdue’s best collections of talent in the “recruiting rankings” era. 247 sports has it pegged as the 24th best class in the nation (ignore Rivals for the moment, as their rankings, in my opinion, have are motivated by things other than actual talent as they’ve faced more competition), with 5* DE Georgie Karlaftis (West Lafayette HS) as the headliner for the defense and high 4* WR David Bell (Warren Central) as the headliner for the offense. It was a great class, but much like rust, recruiting never sleeps, and 2020 is going to be an uphill battle for the Boilermakers.

The 2019 class was anchored by local-boy-done-good George Karlaftis. He committed early, and carried the Purdue banner for the 2019 class. He made it O.K. for elite midwestern players to consider Purdue. To put it bluntly, that player doesn’t exist in the 2020 class for Purdue.

The in-state talent available in the 2020 isn’t as deep or as talented at the top as the 2020 class. 4* DT (91) Cole Brevard from Carmel is considered the top player in the state right now, and he’s not giving any indication that he is interested in staying in the Hoosier state. That could change as his recruitment rolls on, but as of now, I don’t consider Purdue much of a player for his signature. 4* C (89) Josh Fryar from Beach Grove is the only other 4* player in the state, and much like Brevard, I think he’s looking to get out of Indiana. Unless someone else in the state makes a big move up the recruiting rankings, I don’t see Purdue pulling a 4* player out of Indiana this year.

Purdue and Jeff Brohm are going to have to hit the road for elite players if they want to pull in another top 25 recruiting class. Purdue has pulled 2 4* players out of Kentucky in the last two classes (some guy named Rondale Moore, who I understand has some talent, and Milton Wright, the 3rd highest ranked player in Purdue’s 2019 class) but the Bluegrass state also looks dry in 2020. There are only 3 4* players in Kentucky right now. One is committed to Notre Dame, one is committed to Clemson, and it doesn’t look like Purdue is in the running for the third (as of right now).

Purdue’s best two recruiting watering holes appear to be dry in 2020.

The Boilermakers will also have to deal with a changing recruiting narrative. The staff was able to sell “instant impact” and “immediate playing time” in the 2019 class. The holes in the depth chart, especially on defense, were obvious. Those holes have now been filled by talented players. You can only promise an open depth chart and available playing time for so long before that depth chart is closed and the playing time is filled with guys you promised it to in prior classes. Purdue is going to have to sell results over playing time. The 2019 season is going to be crucial in that aspect. 6 wins isn’t great recruiting bait, 7 might get a few bites, but 8 wins could pull in a few big fish.

Finally, Purdue is full at wide receiver, and that has proven to be their premier recruiting position. In reality, they understandably over recruited the wide receiver position the last two years, because they hit on some high level targets. 8 receivers in two years doesn’t provide much room for receivers in the third year. I expect this to be a two receiver class (at most), and I would be surprised if either of those players were a 4* prospect. Recruits pay attention to depth charts, and unless they are truly elite, they don’t like seeing a stack of highly rated freshmen and sophomores in front of them on the depth chart. Purdue is going to have to positions outside of wide receiver for elite talent, and those positions tend to be harder to recruit, at least for Purdue.

This isn’t to say that Purdue can’t sign a top 25 class in 2020. In fact, Purdue fans should expect Jeff Brohm to bring in a top 25 class at his current compensation level, but it’s going to be an uphill battle that will require pulling guys out of unfamiliar states and getting them at unfamiliar positions. Don’t expect the 2020 class to start quite as hot, or be as relatively quiet late. I expect several tight recruiting battles against teams Purdue normally doesn’t compete against.

If nothing else, it will make for plenty of posts, and I’m cool with a little job security.