We all know the OG Baby Boilers.
I am talking about the freshmen from the 2007-2008 Purdue Basketball Roster.
Robbie Hummel, JaJuan Johnson, E’Twaun Moore and Scott Martin.
Well, now we have the football version.
The Purdue Football Team is in the middle of a youth movement, where over 20 freshmen or redshirt freshmen have played this year.
Here they are:
Jack Plummer - 1605 Yards, 11 Toudchdowns, 8 Interceptions - Out for Season
King Doerue - 107 Carries, 340 Yards, 4 Touchdowns
Da’Joun Hewitt - 4 Carries, 9 Yards
David Bell - 51 Catches, 676 Yards, 4 Touchdowns
Milton Wright - 12 Catches, 185 Yards, 1 Touchdown
Amad Anderson Jr. - 19 Catches, 263 Yards, 2 Touchdowns
Payne Durham - 8 Catches, 75 Yards, 4 Touchdowns
T.J. Sheffield - 2 Catches, 12 Yards
George Karlaftis - 41 Tackles, 12.5 TFL, 6 Sacks
Jalen Graham - 30 Tackles
Cory Trice - 24 Tackles, 3 Interceptions, 1 Touchdown
Cam Allen - 21 Tackles
Lawrence Johnson - 17 Tackles
Jack Sullivan - 8 Tackles
Kadin Smith - 6 Tackles
Branson Deen - 3 Tackles
Marvin Grant - 2 Tackles - Out For Season
Brooks Cormier - 40 Yards Per Punt
By my count (which may be off) that is 22 players who have seen the field at some point during their freshmen year. There have been definite growing pains and it hasn’t been plug, play and win like the original Baby Boilers.
But there is no doubt that these Baby Boilers (Football Edition) are laying the foundation for the team next year and teams of the future. This freshmen class was ranked 25th in the nation - for good reason.
There is a ton of talent with our young guys. Others have taken notice as well. The 2020 recruits have noticed what we are building and what this young team has started to do, our 2020 class is currently ranked 24th in the nation, good for 4th in the Big Ten Conference. Only behind Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State.
Not too bad for a team that is 3-6.
Could there have been more success this season? Absolutely. Injuries happen. Injuries when still trying to build depth just make it hard to hide our youth.
That had to be the plan all along. We knew that some freshmen were going to play. But if you said before the season 22 freshmen would play a role in the outcome of this season, I believe most of us would have agreed - this may be a bumpy year.
Was Jack Plummer truly ready to take over for Elijah? No, he probably needed another year. Was King Doerue ready to take on a full workload? No, we all thought that Tario would be the guy or Horvath would be more involved.
Should David Bell truly be our #1 wide receiver? Or Milton Wright playing as much? Probably not, a healthy Rondale Moore takes away some targets from Bell and a healthy Jared Sparks doesn’t force Wright into full time action.
But shoot, here we are. 3-6.
We have a chance to win our last 3, it will be an uphill climb against a very good Wisconsin Team and an IU Team that has if anything, gained a huge amount of confidence from their success so far.
But, never say never. These young guys never cease to impress me.
In all honesty, we should beat Northwestern this weekend to pull us to four wins.
Wisconsin more than likely won’t be a victory, but we have played them close during the Brohm era.
The Bucket Game will be a tightly contested game. In rivalries, records go out the door. IU’s record is good against bad teams anyway.
The rest of the season and the majority of this season has been about development. How far have these guys truly come?
I venture to say pretty darn far. They played a ranked Iowa team very close. In the 2nd half against Penn State, it wasn’t Penn State taking their foot off the pedal, it was the Baby Boilers playing well and growing up.
We beat a Maryland team that scored over 70 points in a game this season, the young defense held them to 14 and the young offense scored 40.
Not only is the rest of this season about development - it is about momentum.
How we finish this season will play a major role into how we start next season. Contrary to some beliefs - momentum does carry from one year to the next - it plays a role in creating a consistent program.
Winning 2 of the last 3 would be huge for these Baby Boilers, who will be adding another top 25 recruiting class for 2020. To go along with Coach Brohm’s first true recruiting class (2018) being in their 3rd season with the program (49th overall) and his 2017 class, some recruits he took from the previous regime (68th overall) going into their 4th year with the program.
For me, while this season has been frustrating on some levels, it has also been fascinating.
I never expected this many young guys to play, but it has been a true joy to watch the young talent come in and try their best and make an impact early on.
Drew Brees talked about “Defining Moments” last week. I think we can argue that some of these young guys have made some defining moments early on in their Purdue Careers.
I am looking forward to the next three seasons with this class leading the way. Boiler Up!