Today we’ve got two players on the list as we countdown to the kickoff of Purdue football. Kickoff is appropriate today as one of our players is a kicker! Let’s get to it!
Will Chapman - Redshirt Sophomore
Indianapolis, IN (Cathedral)
5’11”, 225 pounds
2021 Projection: Deep reserve at linebacker
Chapman comes to Purdue from Indiana football powerhouse Cathedral. Chapman walked onto the team and is now in his third year with the program. To this point he has not seen the field. However, with a new group of coaches on the staff you never know what can happen. If a walk-on can put in the effort and do what the coaches tell them to do there’s always a path to the field.
It’s important to note, to me at least, that Chapman was named Academic All-Big Ten in 2020. So that no matter what happens on the field he is taking care of things off it and that’s likely more important to his long term future.
Chris Van Eekeren - Redshirt Sophomore
Chesterton, IN (Chesterton HS)
5’11”, 190 pounds
2021 Projection: Battle for starter at kicker.
Van Eekeren is another walk-on. However, he’s got some nice high school stats. As a junior at Chesterton HS 93% of his kickoffs went for touchbacks. In his final season he was 5 of 10 on field goals and 15 of 15 on PATs as Chesterton went 3-7 with an offense that only scored more than 17 points per game once. Chris Sailer kicking did label him a 5-star prospect.
During the 2020 season he appeared in two games and kicked off four times with one touchback. There will likely be a competition for the kicker position with the transfer from Samford, Mitchell Fineran, coming into the mix. Van Eekeren will likely be given every opportunity to find a place but it seems likely that a transfer kicker would only transfer if they knew they had a pretty good chance to land the starting role.
Van Eekeren was also Academic All-Big Ten in 2020 as well. So good for him!