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8 Days to Purdue Football: Anthony Watts & TJ Sheffield

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Today we have an experienced defensive tackle paired with a promising freshman receiver.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 15 Missouri at Purdue Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The first player today is wearing a new number this year, switching from 44 to 8 on the defense.

Anthony Watts - Jr.

Houston, TX (Jack Yates HS)

6’4”, 300 pounds

Defensive Tackle

2019 Projection: Starter at Defensive Tackle

Yesterday we featured Lorenzo Neal here, but Watts is a bit like Neal was entering last season. He has plenty of experience and is entering a junior season where he needs to make “The Leap”. Watts was a key reserve in 2017 as a redshirt freshman, appearing in nine games. He then moved into a starting role in 11 of 13 games last season. He had a very productive year too with 42 tackles, 3.5 for loss, a sack, and even an interception against Boston College.

Watts had some of his best games in Purdue’s biggest games. He had four tackles and a sack against Ohio State. His interception came against Boston College. He had a season best six tackles against Indiana. With Neal out for at least the season opener Watts needs to play an even bigger role. Once Neal returns Purdue should have a formidable duo in the middle of the defensive line.

TJ Sheffield - Fr.

Thompson’s Station, TN (Independence HS)

5’11”, 180 pounds

Wide Receiver

2019 Projection: Contributor at wide receiver

The sheer talent that Purdue is collecting at receiver is impressive. It truly says something when you have two very experienced juniors in Jared Sparks and Jackson Anthrop taking a smaller role because the incoming freshmen are so good. That says a lot about a guy like Sheffield.

Sheffield was a four-star recruit according to ESPN and three-stars by Rivals and 247. He had an astounding 75 receptions for 1,550 yards and 15 touchdowns last season. This followed a 56-840-5 years in 2017. Her even rushed for 130 yards and four scores.

Sheffield has a bit of Rondale Moore in him, in the sense that if he gets the ball in his hands with some space something good is bound to happen. Think of him as yet another weapon to use in the fully armed and operational Brohmfense.