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Purdue Football: Into the Portal! - Quarterback

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Purdue has a few holes to fill, and the transfer portal is teeming with talent this year.

NCAA Football: Purdue at Nevada David Calvert-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020 season is the most important thus far in Brohm’s tenure. After the disappointment of 2019, 2020 needs to be a bounce back year for the Boilermakers. One losing season doesn’t do that much damage to a program, but back to back losing seasons damages recruiting and saps the confidence of a fan base just starting to warm up to football again.

Last season, Purdue was quiet in transfer market. They were in a bit of a scholarship crunch and once the dust was settled, they only added graduate transfer Ben Holt to the mix, hoping that holes in the offensive line, defensive line, and secondary would fix themselves with the current talent on the roster.

As we all know, that didn’t happen.

This year I expect the Boilermakers to be more active in bringing guys into the program to fill a few holes. The scholarship grid is always fluid, and the best approach is to trust the coaching staff. If they’re recruiting guys, there is space. If they’re not recruiting guys, there isn’t space. I think they’ll be some space when all is said and done.

Quarterback

This comes down to how much Brohm trusts the guys currently on the roster right now. If he trusts Plummer, AOC, Piferi, or incoming freshman Michael Alaimo to get the job done, he won’t add another quarterback to the fold.

If he doesn’t think he can win big in 2020 with one of those 4, he’ll bring in someone else. Ideally, both in terms of scholarship numbers and team chemistry, someone on the current roster snags the starting spot and leads Purdue to a 8-10 win season. Based on early indications, however, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Brohm at least check in on a few high level transfers options.

Who’s Available?

Justin Rogers- TCU - 6’4, 210 - 4* (97)

Rogers is a tough luck story.

He was the centerpiece of TCUs 2018 recruiting class and considered one of the best dual threat quarterbacks in the nation. Unfortunately, early on in his senior season he suffered a stomach turning knee dislocation, similar to injury suffered by UCF star McKenzie Milton.

This was a worst case scenario type of injury. He suffered nerve damage in his knee, and has battled through drop foot during his rehab. At different points in his recover, it was questionable if he would ever play another down of football.

Fortunately, Rogers now claims to be back to 100% and ready to play this year. While he wouldn’t be a grad transfer, he does have a compelling case for a waiver after sitting out two consecutive seasons because of his knee injury.

He’s the biggest risk/reward player in the portal at any position.

If he is back to 100%, he has star potential and brings an athletic skill set to the table that Purdue hasn’t seen at the quarterback position.

At the same time, he hasn’t seen game action since the start of his senior year in high school. No one knows what he’s going to look like when the bodies start flying around and guys start grabbing at his lower body. Is he confident enough to cut it loose, cut hard and step into throws, or will he be understandably hesitant?

This is his highlight reel from his junior season in high school, and man, he’s just dripping with physical skills and potential.

My Opinion

I understand wanting to kick the tires and see if Rogers is healthy, I just don’t see him as a sure fire starter in 2020. I think if Brohm is going upset the quarterback room, it’s got to be for a guy that can come in, win the job, and not look back, because I anticipate some movement out of the program if the coaching staff brings in another quarterback.

I’m intrigued by Rogers talent, and hope he gets a chance to show what he can do on the field, but I’m not sure Purdue is a great fit for a guy that hasn’t played a live snap in almost 3 seasons.

Current Interest

Purdue showed early interest, but things have gone quiet on the Rogers front.

Chase Brice - Clemson - 6’2, 230 - 3* (88)

Chase is a personal favorite of mine. If you follow me on twitter (and you should), you know I’m a Clemson graduate and that I also write for Clemson’s SB Nation site. I’ve followed Chase’s career since he signed with Clemson in 2017. Without Chase’s heroic against Syracuse in 2018, Clemson doesn’t play for and win the 2018 National Championship. You can say I’m a bit biased when it comes to Mr. Brice.

Chase is an interesting case because he was considered a pro style quarterback coming into college but has transitioned to a bruising dual threat quarterback over the course of his career. He’s not an elusive, open field runner, but he’s tank in close quarters. Once he gets moving forward, it’s hard to get him on the ground.

It’s hard to say exactly what he looks like as a pocket quarterback because he hasn’t had many opportunities over the last two seasons to come in with Clemson’s first team and develop a rhythm. He plays more than traditional back ups because Clemson tends to knock teams out in the first half and turn the game over to the reserves in the 3rd quarter. It’s been rare to see Chase with Clemson’s full compliment of receivers and running backs at his disposal.

That said, he’s got a plus arm, solid accuracy, and a penchant for making big throws in pressure situations (a trait that dates back to high school). He’s got all the tools you want in a starting quarterback. The fact that he isn’t as good as Trevor Lawrence, a true freak of nature, shouldn’t be considered a knock on Brice.

Outside of football, Brice was a natural leader for Clemson. It’s rare that a back up quarterback is as universally loved and respected as Chase Brice. He’s loved by the Clemson fans, media, players and coaches. He’ll be an instant positive addition to the locker room and has the leadership skills to come in and take control of a team from the start.

This is highlight video gives you an idea of what Chase brought to the table at Clemson. The 4th down pass to Higgins against Syracuse with the game on the line is one of the most important throws in Clemson football history. Watching him truck a Notre Dame safety is also deeply satisfying.

This is a look at Chase as a high school prospect. This gives you a better look at his arm strength and hair trigger release.

My Opinion

I’m Brice or bust in terms of a grad transfer quarterback at this point. He has two years left as a grad transfer which mitigates any potential down roster fallout. He’s and instant impact player with long term potential. You don’t find that often.

He’s got the physical skills, experience, and demeanor to come in a run the Purdue offense from day 1. He also has experience throwing to talented receivers, and Purdue happens to have a bevy of them on the roster. It won’t be hard for him to adjust to Rondale’s speed after throwing the ball to Amari Rodgers and Clemson specializes in the back shoulder throws that David Bell dominates.

Current Interest

Rumors are flying around about Chase’s next destination.

USF makes a ton of sense because Clemson’s Co-OC Jeff Scott is taking over the Bulls and Chase could hit the ground running in a familiar system.

Michigan State is another team that could be in the running. Before he committed to Clemson, Sparty was considered his most likely destination. They need a quarterback, and he’s available, but I wonder if he’s interested in walking into the toxic situation in East Lansing. It looks like jumping onto a sinking ship to me.

Other schools that have been tossed around at different points are Oregon, LSU, Georgia and Rutgers.

His home state bulldogs appear to be off the table after taking Wake graduate transfer Jamie Newman.

I’ve heard whispers that Schiano is interested in bringing in Brice to helm the Scarlet Knight, but I’m not sold on that idea. Brice can do better than getting beat up in New Jersey.

LSU and Oregon remain possibilities.

I’m not sure if Purdue has stuck a line in the water yet, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Brice at least considers the Boilermakers. The skill position strength and offensive system make Purdue a place where Brice could potentially take off and put up numbers that propel him to the NFL.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Overall

Purdue isn’t in desperate need of help at quarterback.

I think they can win with the 4 guys currently on the roster, but at the same point, Brice is better than anyone on campus right now. I’d love to see him in black and gold, but if it’s not Brice, I don’t like anyone else enough to upset the chemistry of the team and potentially lose quarterbacks to transfer.

We’ll find out soon enough, because Brice and Rogers will be looking to find a home before spring practice kicks off.