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Early Signing Day Evaluation - Offensive Line

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Purdue landed 5 offensive linemen on early signing day. Consider me a fan.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 11 Purdue at UConn Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Welcome to my SIGNING DAY EVALUATIONS (Early Edition)! I’m hear to tell you why this is the class that will push us over the edge and why the other loser programs signed guys we didn’t want anyway! With the current state of college football, I wouldn’t get too attached to anyone just yet, but (in theory) recruiting is still the lifeblood of college football programs.

Let’s start with the big boys up front.

Offensive Line

Purdue has done a bang up job with offensive line transfers. In fact, they landed another one just yesterday (Sione Finau). That said, there is something about growing your own offensive linemen that does it for me. That hasn’t been a strength of the current coaching staff, but I like what they managed to do with this recruiting class. It’s missing top end talent, but has plenty of high ceiling/low floor prospects. When you’re recruiting at Purdue’s level, you need to buy as many offensive line lottery tickets as possible. I’m thrilled the staff went out and snagged 5 dudes this year.

Offensive Tackle

Cross Watson (3*(85), 6’5” 270) out of Portage, Michigan, Andre Oben (3*(84) 6’4”, 280) out of Jersey City, New Jersey, and Vince Carpenter (3*(84) 6’5”, 275) out of Rend Bank, New Jersey make up the offensive tackle triumvirate for the 2022 recruiting class (Early Edition).

Watson is technically Purdue’s highest rated offensive tackle recruit (according to the 247 composite) but honestly, all 3 guys are similar prospects. Cross, to me, looks like the best left tackle prospect out of the group. He moves well on the edge and is a better pass blocker than run blocker at this point in his career. He had plenty of G5/Ivy League interest, but decided to cast his lot with the Boilermakers. I don’t anticipate seeing him on the field any time soon, but he’s got the raw material to contribute in the future.

Oben has a solid football pedigree with father Roman playing offensive tackle in the NFL for a decade and his older brother RJ playing at Duke. You’ve got to assume he’ll be ahead of the game in terms of technique, which is why I think he’s the most likely candidate to see the field first out of this group. He’s listed as a tackle, and that’s where he’ll start off at Purdue, but could also see him shifting inside. I think he’s more of a right tackle than a left tackle, but who knows? Purdue basically beat out the same G5/Ivy schools for Oben that they beat out for Watson.

Last, but not least, Carpenter was a nice surprise. I thought Purdue would only take 2 offensive tackle prospects, but they liked Carpenter enough to make it 3. Physically, he’s the most imposing of the 3 tackle prospects, but is probably the rawest in terms of skill set. I think he’ll end up on the right side of the line as a mauler. He reminds me a little of former Boilermaker Matt McCann in terms of build and general attitude. Purdue offensive line recruiting is the bane of the G5 and Ivy League this year, because Carpenter pretty much has an identical offer list to Watson and Oben (and no that doesn’t particularly concern me).

Interior Line

Malachi Preciado (3*(85) 6’2”, 265 out of New Orleans, Louisiana and Jimmy Liston (3*(84)6’4”, 310) out of Oak Park, Illinois make up Purdue’s haul on the interior line (although any of the three tackle prospects could also end up on the inside). Unlike the 3, fairly interchangeable tackle prospects (in terms of size at least), these two guys are on opposite ends of the interior line spectrum.

Preciado is Purdue’s highest rated offensive line recruit (according to the 247 composite). He’s seriously undersized at the moment, but will have time to grow into the center position. He also has the best hair of any recruit, and it’s not close. He’s my favorite lineman of this group of 5 (which means absolutely nothing folks, if anyone tells you they know how these guys will pan out, they are probably stealing money from you) because he’s the easiest to project to a position. In an ideal Purdue world, Preciado is the next man up at starting center. Of course, this isn’t an ideal world, but I like my centers to specialize at center, and Preciado is 100% a center. Purdue beat out G5 and Ivy League schools for Preciado. If nothing else, Purdue’s offensive 2022 offensive line class will make the Boilermakers a Quiz Bowl juggernaut.

Liston, on the other hand, is 100% a guard. He’s a big’un already, that’s not always a good thing, because it’s hard to get to 310 pounds as a 17-18 year old without carrying a bunch of bad weight, but I’m gonna give Jimmy the benefit of the doubt, because when he’s not blocking people on the field, he’s wrestling them on the mat. Football players that are also wrestlers have a good track record at Purdue, and Liston looks to be the next wrassler (excuse me...wrestler) up. Size wise, he’s ready to go straight out of the box, but I’m sure the strength and conditioning staff will work on improving the big mans fast twitch and flexibility before he hits the field in a year or two. Out of all the linemen, Liston had the most impressive (in terms of football) offer list with schools like Cincinnati, Arizona State, Ole Miss, and Penn State offering (at one point or another, have no idea if they were actual offers) him an opportunity to attend their fine institutions of higher learning while playing football on the side as a fun hobby.

*Note: Liston hasn’t officially signed. Purdue’s doing their normal signing day scholarship shuffle. He’s coming but he’ll probably gray shirt.

Biggest Hit

Grabbing and holding onto Liston.

Biggest Miss

Not getting the slightest acknowledgement from Kiyaunta Goodwin or Joey Tanona.

Overall Offensive Line Grade

B-

I like that the coaching staff is investing scholarships in offensive linemen. Outside of the elite “plug and play” guys, everyone, to some extent, is buying offensive line lotto tickets, and you’ve got to be in it to win it.

I have no idea if Purdue landed a game changer today, but I like that they’re trying real hard to get the O-line sorted out. This class could end up as an A+ or and F- and there is no way of knowing how it shakes out, but I like the hustle.