We’re into the single digits, so football is almost here. Today we feature a couple of guys who were highly touted according to the recruiting services.
Mershawn Rice - Jr. (RS)
Reynoldsburg, OH (Reynoldsburg HS)
6’2”, 205 pounds
2022 Projection: Contributor
Rice has been a tough luck player so far at Purdue. He was a four-star receiver in the same class as David Bell, but injuries have limited his time at Purdue. He played in only one game as a true freshman in 2019 and only one game in 2020. Last season it looked like he was going to contribute early on. He played in the first four games and caught six passes for 69 yards. He had a touchdown in the second half of the game at UConn, then he had a solid day of four catches for 37 yards at Notre Dame. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen him since.
If he can stay healthy Rice has all the physical tools to be a major contributor, and there are passes to be caught with the Purdue offense. I would love for him to step into the Milton Wright role this season.
Joe Strickland - Fr.
Indianapolis, IN (Brebeuf Jesuit HS)
6’4”, 260 pounds
2022 Projection: Reserve
Strickland was one of the jewels of the 2022 recruiting class for Purdue. He was a four-star recruit across all of the major recruiting services and one of the top 300 overall recruits in the nation. He is coming off of a monster senior season where he had 70 tackles, 24 for loss, and 12 sacks as Brebeuf advanced all the way to the state finals before losing to Brady Allen’s Gibson Southern team. They finished 12-3 with additional losses to Class 5A champion Cathedral and Indy powerhouse Roncalli.
While Strickland won’t immediately fill the shoes of George Karlaftis, he is the type of player that can come in and play right away as a rush end. Expect him to be one of the impact newcomers this season.