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Purdue Football Recruiting: Purdue Adds 2 In-state Recruits to the 2023 Class

Boilermaker recruiting is as hot as the weather.

Syndication: Journal-Courier Nikos Frazier / Journal & Courier via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Once again, it’s been a productive June for Purdue recruiting. Kyle and I are doing our best to stay on top of things, and will give you some more in-depth articles on the new guys when things slow down in July. Until then, I’ve got two more in-state recruits that we haven’t touched on yet (I think).

Will Heldt

Heldt is a 3*, 6’6, 240 pound defensive end out of Carmel High School in Carmel, Indiana.

He chose the Boilermakers over offers from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Northwestern, Vandy, and Wake Forest. Iowa was Purdue’s primary competition and it feels good to land a kid from the Indianapolis suburbs over the Hawkeyes, who continue to wreak havoc in Indy and the surrounding area (but not on the football field against Purdue). Rivals considers him the 8th best player in Indiana for 2023, and the 48th best weakside defensive end in the nation. He joins his Carmel teammate, safety Winston Berglund in Purdue’s 2023 class. Heldt’s primary recruiter is Coach Hagan, and I would once again like to stress that Coach Hagan is a recruiting machine (thanks again Texas!).

Heldt is yet another versatile defensive lineman with the frame to easily carry 270+ (if that’s what the coaches want him to do). While he’s not as highly rated as Cathedral defensive end Kendrick Gilbert or Lawrence Central end Joshua Mickens, he has plenty of tools to work with and should fit the system. He’s made up move up the ratings this summer, and a monster year at Carmel could push him further up the ratings.

TJ McWilliams

McWilliams is a 3*, 6’0”, 170 pound wide receiver out of North Central High School in Indianapolis, Indiana.

He chose Purdue over an offer from West Virginia (take that former Purdue head coach Gerad Parker!) and a slew of G5 and FCS schools. He also visited Northwestern (where he sister plays basketball). Rivals considers him the 18th best player in Indiana for the 2023 class. Purdue offered him on June 14th and he committed on June 26th. His primary recruiter is new wide receiver coach Garrick McGee. He has ties to the Purdue program. His father played with Jeff Brohm at Louisville.

McWilliams still has some filling out to do before he hits the field in West Lafayette. At the moment, I see him as an inside receiver, but that could change with some added bulk. He’s a slippery, quick twitch player that stands out on film for his ability to make defenders miss in the open field. He is a difference maker as a kick returner and may need to carve out playing time on special teams early in his career while he fine tunes his game at receiver.

Moving Forward

Purdue has plucked most of the low hanging fruit for this class. I expect things to slow down in July. Kendrick Gilbert, a 4* defensive lineman out of Cathedral has Purdue in his final 4, but Kentucky is the odds on favorite according to the experts. The Boilermakers are also in on 4* defensive lineman Joshua Mickens out of Lawrence Central, but he looks to be headed to LSU. Ethon Cole, a 3* safety out of Lake Minneola, Florida was on campus recently, and Purdue will have to contend with I.U. and Minnesota for his services.

The Boilermakers currently have 15 recruits and are ranked 23rd nationally. Expect that number to slide into the 40s or 50s once other teams start filling out their classes. Coach Hagan is bringing in defensive line talent, and Rickie Collins still heads the class as a 4* quarterback, but Purdue is going to need to pick it up on the offensive side of the ball if they have designs on a top 25 class. A hot start to the 2023 season, with O’Connell and company putting up video game numbers would help things immensely.

At the moment, I’m a little underwhelmed by this class overall, considering the momentum Purdue had coming into the offseason, but we’re not even into July. No need to panic, but some mild concern in regards to offensive recruiting may be warranted.