The last few days of our countdown are double player days, so let’s begin with one of Purdue’s most critical players.
Jalen Graham - Sr.
Detroit, MI (Cass Tech)
6’3”, 220 pounds
2022 Projection: Starter
Graham might be the most important player on the defense. His skillset to line up at linebacker or safety is absolutely critical to Purdue’s defensive scheme, and he plays it very well. Graham is now a three year starter, having started in all 13 games last year, five games in 2020, and 11 in 2019. In that time he has earned all-Big Ten honorable mention in 2021 and was Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week last year after the Nebraska game.
For his career he has 117 tackles, 1 sack, and a pair of interceptions. He has also visited the end zone twice. In 2020 at Illinois he recovered a fumble basically on the goal line for a touchdown. Last year he had a critical first half interception against Nebraska he returned for a touchdown.
Graham had a huge game in the bowl game against Tennessee with 12 tackles last year. He finished the year with 64 tackles, four for loss, and the two picks. He is a player Purdue cannot afford to lose defensively, as he is the lynchpin of the defense.
Curtis Deville Jr. - Fr.
Kinder, LA (Iowa HS)
6’2”, 190 pounds
2022 Projection: Likely redshirt
Deville is an interesting addition to the team. He is a 3-star recruit from the 2022 recruiting class and he is a pure athlete. In addition to being one of the top players in Louisiana last year he finished third in the high jump at the Class 3A Louisiana state track meet and ran in the 4x100 relay. He also played basketball.
I see Deville as a redshirt candidate this year due to the talent ahead of him at receiver, but he is an interesting prospect for the future.