After doing some quick reading on the first day of spring practice a new name has emerged in the race for the back-up quarterback spot.
I pride myself on being well versed in all things Purdue football, but I only have so much brain capacity. I tend to avoid using my precious mental resources on walk-on quarterbacks. No offense to walk-ons, but I’m not going to learn your name until I see you on the field, or read about you in an article.
This quote from Brian Brohm in Mike Carmin’s article in the Journal and Courier today caught my interest.
“I would not sleep on Aidan. He’s got some tools and he’s smart and he works his butt off,” Brian Brohm said. “He’s got good clean mechanics, he’s accurate and he has a good quick release.”
Who is Aidan O’Connell? Let’s find out together (granted, I’m finding out first).
According to 247 Sports, O’Connell was an unranked, 6’3, 170 pound pro-style quarterback, out of Lincolnshire, Illinois in the 2016 recruiting class with interest (but no offers) from Purdue and Minnesota.
This is his senior highlight package
O’Connell’s senior stats according to his MaxPreps page (link)
Games Played: 9
Completion %: 616
Total Yards: 2741
Yards Per Game: 304.6
That’s not too shabby for a walk-on QB. It makes me wonder why he didn’t get more looks from MAC schools. Grades obviously weren’t the issue since he managed to get into Purdue on his academic merits, but whatever, I’m selfishly glad he was overlooked.
Information from his official Purdue Bio (link)
Class: Sophomore (RS)
2017: Joined team as walk-on
2018: Academic All-Big10
He’s smart, so that’s a plus. I’m not saying that book smarts and football smarts are the same thing, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. If nothing else, it shows he knows how to study, and that’s an important skill for a quarterback.
What Does This All Mean?
I’m going to level with you, if Aidan O’Connell sees the field this year, something has gone terribly, terribly wrong. No offense to Aidan, who I’m sure is an extremely talented young man.
What his emergence gives Purdue is another reason to redshirt incoming freshman Paul Piferi and at minimum the assurance that the scout team has a competent leader, which is more important than one might think.
It also gives Purdue some extra insurance in case one of the back up quarterbacks jumps into the portal after spring practice. With Aidan on board, it gives Purdue more wiggle room on the depth chart.
NOTE: I’m not saying someone will transfer...at all...it’s not even speculation on my part...just saying it’s one potential outcome in a universe of infinite potential outcomes. There is at least one timeline where a Purdue quarterback transfers after spring practice, and I’m sure that timeline will be happy to have a Aidan on the roster.