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25 Days Until Purdue Football: Jake Smith

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A local walk on from Harrison High School

Indiana v Purdue Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Yea, I know.

Big Ten is cancelled for the fall, I get it.

But, I had this post plan long before the announcement today, as I had an opportunity to be a part of this local walk-on’s journey for three of the last four years.

Name: Jake Smith

Position & Size: Wide Receiver. 6-3, 200 Pounds

Hometown: West Lafayette, IN (Harrison High School)

First off, let’s start with this. Being a walk on for a power 5 school is no cake walk. You are generally coming from a situation from where you were the man, put up great numbers and were the best player on the field most nights.

This is true for Jake.

But, I got an opportunity to coach Jake for three of the last four seasons and let me tell you. He is up for the task.

He is gritty, intelligent, has a high football IQ and overall just a great person.

As a junior, Jake hurt his shoulder in early August, something which hindered him all season. He was up and down, he played in some junior varsity games as he continued to battle this season long injury.

I chalked it up to a stinger that continued to nag him as he went through the year. He never complained, he did rehab, practiced daily and played in as many games as he could, the X-Ray said nothing was wrong.

He ended up catching the go ahead touchdown for us in the sectional championship, the first sectional title for Harrison in over 20 years, we lost the next week to eventual State Champs, New Palestine.

Jake continued to have issues with his shoulder, even after the season, after another X-Ray, we found out he played on a broken scapula, all season and was misdiagnosed. Grittiness and toughness there.

That season, where he fought that injury, your junior season is when the recruits find you, so Jake was upset, but, he never stopped working.

He came back better his senior season, leading us to another sectional title. Jake ended his senior season with 32 catches for 452 yards and 9 touchdowns. Was named all state and continued to look for an opportunity.

For Jake, Purdue was always a place he wanted to play and he knew he had to work. But, when Coach Brian Brohm came into Harrison that morning and offered a PWO, Jake was beside himself, maybe the happiest I have ever seen a kid.

So, while Purdue Football appears to be suspended, I couldn’t resist but write this for Jake.

He is a great kid, will work his tail off and loves Purdue. Everything, you want in an In State Walk On.

Boiler Up, Jake. We are proud as hell of you.