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Purdue Football: Spring QB Competition Edition

Football is Back Baby(sort of)! Drew is breaking down his super unofficial and totally speculative depth chart, staring with the quarterbacks.

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Purdue Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Ok, everyone, I need you to step back from the complex algorithms you’re working on to predict the Big10 conference race, and maybe put down the Carsen Edwards shot chart overlay for a moment.


I’ve got a series of articles on the way looking at the super unofficial, totally speculative, Drew Schneider depth chart for each position, and talking a little about the actual battles on the unofficial, totally speculative Drew Schneider depth chart. I thought that starting with quarterback, the sexiest position in team sports, would draw some eyes and get you hooked.

I need y’all to hang with me through the brewing long snapper battle.


Some people miss the note section and then point out things in the comment section that I actually covered in the note section. I don’t care, and find that comments usually create more comments, but if you want to save some time, I recommend reading this note.

I’m using the official Purdue spring roster for my spring football articles. If the player isn’t currently on campus for spring football, I’m not putting him in the spring football depth chart.

As an example Paul Piferi is on campus for spring football, therefore, he’s on the depth chart. David Bell is not on campus for spring football, therefore, he’s not on the depth chart.

I hope this is clear and I look forward to answering questions about why I don’t have David Bell on the depth chart in the wide receiver article.

Quarterback Depth Chart

  1. Elijah Sindelar - RS SR
  2. Nick Sipe - RS SO or Jack Plummer RS FR
  3. Paul Piferi - FR

Elijah Sindelar

Eli comes into the spring as the obvious number one quarterback for the first time in his career. I know everyone is intrigued by the guys behind him, but go ahead and get that out of your mind. It’s not happening.

Sindelar will be that starting quarterback for Purdue in the 2019 season if his knee is right. This brings up an interesting, and potentially season changing question.

Is the knee right?

Eli is coming off his second major reconstructive knee surgery in 5 years. Last season the knee wasn’t right, and it showed early. Eli wasn’t comfortable stepping up in the pocket and delivering a pass with players in his face and around his legs. It’s a little counter intuitive, but I think the reason he scrambled more (and made terrible decisions) at the start of last season was a lack of faith in the knee. It seemed like he was always looking for room to throw instead of stepping up and letting it go (this is purely speculative).

Anyway, my guess is that coaching staff will be careful with Eli’s knee this spring and give him plenty of time off to rest and recover. This will give extra reps to the players in the actual quarterback battle.

Sipe vs Plummer

Sipe has the most to gain and most to lose out of any player on the roster this spring and fall camp. If he is overtaken by Plummer on the depth chart, his road forward as a staring quarterback at Purdue seems untenable. If he can take firm control of the back up position, he’s in prime position to win the starting job when Sindelar exhausts his eligibility (which might be a year longer than expected).

Plummer, on the other hand, is in perfect position to lay down his marker as the future of the quarterback position at Purdue. Even if Eli is granted a 6th year, that would still put Plummer in position to take over the job as a junior, which isn general, is the ideal QB progression for programs like Purdue.

Who Wins?

I have no idea.

Physically, these guys are pretty close.

Sipe - 6’4, 215

Plummer - 6’5, 220

Coming out of high school, they had similar rankings.

Sipe - 3* (86)

Plummer - 3* (87)

This battle will be decided between the ears.

The quarterback with the best grasp of the Brohm offense will win the job. Last year was an aberration for the Brohm offense in terms of quarterback style. Blough was a solid dual threat play maker at the quarterback position, but Brohm doesn’t need (or particularly want based on his recruiting) a dual threat play maker at the quarterback position.

The offense is predicated on the quarterback getting the ball into the hands of the playmakers. Brohm will take a 50/50 deep ball over a 4 yard scramble any day of the week. The quarterback that can make the right read and push the ball down the field will win the job.

I doubt we’ll know the winner of the battle until the first official depth chart is released, and even then, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the “or” indicator on the depth chart.

Paul Piferi

It’s not out of the realm of possibility for Piferi to jump into the back up quarterback discussion. He’s a big, strong dude with a cannon for an arm and decent mobility. Physically, he might be the most impressive quarterback on the roster, but unless he’s a football savant, it’s going to be nearly impossible to make up the gap in understanding.

Unless things go sideways, expect Piferi to redshirt this season.