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Purdue Football Player Countdown: #1 Dedrick Mackey & Michael Alaimo

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The returning cornerback will have to fight off some newcomers to keep his job.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 23 Purdue at Wisconsin Photo by Dan Sanger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Today was supposed to be football eve, but even the writers here at the site are adrift as to what to do next. At least we have a few more players to view.

Dedrick Mackey - Jr.

Miami, FL (Booker T. Washington HS)

5’11”. 185 pounds

Cornerback

2020 Projection: Starter at cornerback

Purdue struggled mightily in the passing game last season, and that makes Mackey’s job tougher this year. There were several new prospects brought in to shore things up, but Mackey is an incumbent starter ready to fend them off. Over the past two seasons he has appeared in all 25 games and even had nine starts a season ago. Last year he had 40 tackles, 3 for loss, and a sack, which was a big jump from only eight tackles as a redshirt freshman in 2018.

He was effective as Purdue’s top corner last season. He was credited with 10 passes defensed and even picked off three more. His interceptions came against Vanderbilt, Iowa, and Wisconsin. That makes him one of Purdue’s most experienced defenders entering whatever season we have.

Michael Alaimo - Fr.

Montvale, NJ (St. Joseph Regional HS)

6’4”, 215 pounds

Quarterback

2020 Projection: Likely redshirt

Alaimo’s time will come, but it will be in a few years. With Aidan O’Connell, Austin Burton, Jack Plummer, and Paul Piferi all ahead of him on the depth chart (with each having multiple years of eligibility left) Alaimo will be waiting for a while. Ideally one of those guys wins the job and seizes it for the next two seasons.

Alaimo could surprise though. He comes to Purdue with a lauded pedigree by recruiting services. He was a 4-star recruit by Rivals, ESPN, and 247. ESPN had them as their No. 3 pocket passer. Last season he threw for 1,252 yards and nine touchdowns as his high school team went 7-4. This was after a 10-2 junior campaign where his team won the NJSIAA Non-Public Group 4 championship of the New Jersey High School Football Playoffs.

Alaimo is one of the highest rated quarterbacks Purdue has gotten in some time. We almost certainly won’t see him until 2021 at the earliest, but there is some strong potential there.