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Purdue 2019 Early Signing Day Post-Mortem: The Scholarship situation

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Purdue is not completely done for the 2020 cycle.

NCAA Football: Purdue at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Signing day has come and gone, but Purdue is not totally done for the 2020 cycle. There are still some moving parts with possible departures and arrivals via graduate transfer. For the most part though, we know the roster going forward.

First off, here is where the class ranks via the recruiting services:

Rivals: 27th Nationally, 6th in the Big Ten

247: 30th Nationally, 7th in the Big Ten

ESPN: 28th nationally, 7th in the Big Ten

That marks two years in a row where Purdue has had a top 30 class and a top half of the Big Ten class after many, many years in the 60s nationally and at the bottom of the Big Ten. With two such classes now signed and sealed hopefully the 2019 season is a small valley. There is no question Jeff Brohm exceeded expectations in his first two seasons, which set the stage for the 2019 and 2020 recruiting classes. With few graduate transfers and plug and play guys this season (unlike the first two years under Brohm) there was a dip, but now more than half the roster is represented in these two classes that, on paper, are significantly better than what was here before.

This coming fall Purdue will have 47 players on the roster that were in these two recruiting classes, plus another 20 from his first full recruiting class in 2018 (49th nationally, 11th Big Ten per Rivals) that was better than the Hazell/Hope era, but not on the same level of the last two years. That’s 67 scholarship guys that are fully “Brohm” guys. Because of this, I expect an upturn in 2020, with the breakout year being 2021.

Now, let’s look at the scholarship grid:

Purdue Football Scholarship Grid

Player Position ('20-'21) ('21-'22) ('22-'23) ('23-'24) ('24-'25)
Player Position ('20-'21) ('21-'22) ('22-'23) ('23-'24) ('24-'25)
Lorenzo Neal DT Senior (5)
J.D. Dellinger K Senior (5)
Anthony Watts DT Senior (5)
Jared Sparks WR Senior (5)
Grant Hermanns OL Senior (5)
Simeon Smiley CB Senior (5)
Semisi Fakasiieiki DE Senior (5)
Jackson Anthrop WR Senior (5)
Derrick Barnes LB Senior
Cornell Jones LB Senior
Alexander Horvath RB Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Robert McWilliams LB/DE Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Dedrick Mackey DB Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Mark Stickford OL Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Viktor Beach OL Junior (RS) Senior (5)
DeShon Washington OL Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Kenneth Major DB Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Jaylan Alexander LB Junior Senior
DaMarcus Mitchell LB Junior Senior
Geovante Howard CB Junior Senior
Rondale Moore WR Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Jeff Marks DT Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Jack Plummer QB Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Elijah Ball DB Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Kadin Smith DB Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Jack Cravaack DE Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Eric Miller OT Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Lawrence Johnson DT Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Will Bramel OL Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Jimmy McKenna OL Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
K.J. Stokes DE Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Branson Deen DE Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Jack Sullivan DE Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Amad Anderson WR Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Jordan Rucker CB Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Cory Trice DB Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Kory Taylor WR Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Payne Durham TE Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Willie Lane DE Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
George Karlaftis DE Sophomore Junior Senior
Brooks Cormier P Sophomore Junior Senior
Cam Allen CB Sophomore Junior Senior
King Doerue RB Sophomore Junior Senior
Milton Wright WR Sophomore Junior Senior
Jalen Graham DB Sophomore Junior Senior
David Bell WR Sophomore Junior Senior
TJ Sheffield WR Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Marvin Grant DB Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Da'Joun Hewitt RB Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Mershawn Rice ATH Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Cam Craig OL Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Paul Piferi QB Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Kyle Bilodeau TE Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Dave Monnot III OL Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Spencer Holstege OL Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Dontay Hunter DE Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Nyles Beverly CB Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Crishawn Long LB Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Khali Saunders LB Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Garrett Miller TE Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Sulaiman Kpaka DL Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Steven Faucheux DT Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Kyle Jornigan OL Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Jacob Wahlberg LB Freshman (RS) Sophomore (RS) Junior (RS) Senior (5)
Chase Triplett LB Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Gus Hartwig OL Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Jared Bycznski OL Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Ben Kreul LB Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Michael Alaimo QB Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Tirek Murphy RB Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Josh Kaltenberger OL Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Collin Sullivan WR Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Antonio Stevens DB Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Kydran Jenkins LB Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Sanoussi Kane DB Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Clyde Washington LB Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Greg Hudgins DE Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Marcellus Moore WR Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Nalin Fox OL Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Maliq Carr WR Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Bryce Austin DT Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Abdur-Rahmaan Yaseen WR Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Anthony Romphf QB Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Ryan Brandt LB Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Preston Terrell WR Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Yearly Limit Used (25 Max) 22 2
Total Scholarships Left 1 9 20 46
Total Scholarships Used 84 76 65 39

With the decisions of Elijah Sindelar and other senior holdovers known we have a better picture of what is available. As of right now, Purdue has one open spot scholarship-wise for the 2020 season. Additionally, it has used 22 of the possible 25 new additions. There are some creative ways they have gotten to that number. While Ryan Brandt will be a true freshman on scholarship in the fall, he will “blue shirt” and count against the 2021 cycle’s limit of 25. He will arrive in June, then go on scholarship in the fall. Purdue did the same thing with Jacob Wahlberg in the 2019 cycle. He was on the roster this year and redshirted, but did not go on scholarship until the fall. he counted towards the 2020 limit of 25. Chase Tripplett “grey shirted” meaning he won’t enroll until January. he will be a true freshman next fall and will count against the 2020 limit as well.

So essentially, we borrowed two spots from this year for last year’s class, and we have now borrowed one from 2021, meaning we have use two of the 25 for 2021 (Brandt and Preston Terrell, the lone 2021 commit so far). That shouldn’t be an issue next year in terms of the math. Purdue is only slated to lose 10 scholarship seniors after the 2020 season. Naturally, there will be more attrition, but as of now the next class projects to be smaller.

Per my count there could be the addition of anywhere between 1 and 3 more players via grad transfer or additional commitments before the February signing day. I believe this includes any walk-ons that are awarded a scholarship. Should Purdue add absolutely no one from outside the program I would expect Aidan O’Connell or Brennan Thieneman, two long-standing walk-ons that have played major minutes, to get the open spot.

Coach Brohm has stated he would like to bring in another graduate transfer or two, however. Offensive line and linebacker are probably the largest areas of need. I know he has mentioned a quarterback but, in my opinion, we are fine there. Jack Plummer and O’Connell got lots of experience this year and are a decent 1-2 punch. Paul Piferi is still here, and we just brought two true freshmen, including four-star Michael Alaimo.

Purdue is still going to be an extremely young team in 2020. In fact, we will have even fewer scholarship juniors and seniors in 2020 than we did in 2019. Right now, there are 10 seniors and 10 juniors. Of the juniors, two are JuCo transfers that have not been on campus yet, one (Robert McWilliams) has barely played, and a few others (Lorenzo Neal, Jared Sparks, Viktor Beach, Cornel Jones) are trying to return from various injuries.

The talent is there, however, to turn things around. Here are the following players that were rated as a four-star or better recruit by either 247 or Rivals that are on the roster:

Rondale Moore (247)

George Karlaftis (247 & Rivals)

David Bell (247 & Rivals)

Marvin Grant (247 & Rivals)

Milton Wright (247 & Rivals)

Mershawn Rice (Rivals)

Steven Faucheux (Rivals)

Maliq Carr (247 & Rivals)

Michael Alaimo (247 & Rivals)

Tirek Murphy (247)

Greg Hudgens (Rivals)

Abdur-Rahmaan Yaseen (Rivals)

Now, that is heavily skewed with six 4-star receivers, plus someone like Alaimo is likely not going to play in 2020. but that is a lot of four stars when hazel only brought in two in four years (Danny Etling and Gelen Robinson).

Things are getting better. The schedule in 2020 is tough, but the goal should be a return to a bowl game while reclaiming the Cannon and Bucket (because had we kept both this year we would still be in a bowl). 2021, with hopefully a third straight strong class, will be the breakout.