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Purdue Football: Arhmad Branch Commits!

Purdue adds explosive athlete to the 2023 class.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 29 Michigan State at Purdue Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Purdue added a key piece to their 2023 recruiting class on Sunday with the commitment of wide receiver Arhmad Branch.

Branch, a composite 3*, 6’1”, 175 pound receiver/defensive back out of Festus, MO (just south of St. Louis) is considered a “sleeper” by some folks. I don’t see a player 247 sports rates as 4* (90) and the 8th best player in Missouri as a “diamond in the rough”. To me, he looks like a diamond in the open. I’m not sure what the other recruiting services are missing, because Branch is an elite athlete.

When he’s not scoring touchdowns on Friday nights in the fall, he’s putting up exceptional numbers on the track in the triple jump (he’s an all-state triple jumper), long jump, and high jump (he claims a 41” vertical). When he’s not jumping, he’s a member of Festus High School’s district champion 4x100 meter relay. To keep busy in the winter, Branch also moonlights as the starting point guard for the Festus basketball team. He’s a true sports renaissance man in a world of specialists (no word on if he grew up playing hockey and baseball).

We’re mostly interested in his football chops, and they’re impressive for a guy who has only played 2 years of high school ball. Last season his numbers were absurd. He pulled down 34 receptions (ok, what’s the big deal, that’s not impressive), for 1049 yards (excuse me, is this a typo?) and 10 touchdowns (almost 1 out of every 3 receptions end in the endzone?). That means he averaged a little over 30 yards a reception. He also returned a kick for a touchdown. In his second year of high school football he was named to the 1st Team All State team in Missouri as a wide receiver. Purdue basketball is known for their efficiency, but Branch may give the top ranked Boilermakers a run in that department. When he gets the ball, I suggest leaning forward in your chair, because something special could be in the works.

He’s new to the game, but that doesn’t concern me. It means the coaches won’t have to spend the first year of his career trying to break bad habits he picked up in pee-wee football. Since he’s essentially a fresh block of clay for Purdue to mold his position isn’t set in stone. He can play any position that requires someone he can run fast and jump high. I think he sticks at receiver, but I could also see him developing a lock down corner, or even a safety.

Purdue needs dudes on the roster, and Branch is a dude.


Some of these highlights are Branch being the best athlete on the field. That’s going to be true of most future D1 players. While his speed is impressive, he’ll be facing sterner competition in the Big10 and the “run faster than the other guy” play won’t be as effective. I’m more impressed with his hands. His ability to effortlessly pull down 1 handed catches in the end zone is impressive. That should carry over well to the next level. Throw in his 41” vertical, and he’s a nightmare in the red zone.

Speaking of his speed, while his straight line speed is impressive, I like the way he uses his burst to beat defenders. Much like David Bell, he uses his speed like a basketball player, even when he’s on the football field. Once he gets on top of a defensive back, he hits the gas. When a receiver starts in a dead sprint, there isn’t anywhere else for them to go, and the defender gets a better idea of what he needs to do in coverage (usually keep bailing). When a receiver varys their speed, defenders don’t get a taste until it’s too late. They think “this guy isn’t that fast” and then he drops the hammer and leaves them in the dust.

Like the vast majority of high school receivers, he’ll need to refine his technique, but that’s why Purdue pays Coach Corey Patterson the big bucks.

I added this because it shows Arhmad tearing up the hardwood. He’s the best athlete on the basketball court and football field.

What’s Next?

After only signing 2 receivers in the 2023 class in the early signing period, Coach Walters added two yesterday in Branch and former Maryland/U.N.L.V. commit Derrick Rogers out of Orlando (more on him later). As I mentioned in the article, Branch could potentially end up as a defensive back, but I suspect he’ll get a long hard look at receiver first. That gives Purdue 3 receivers (Tibbs, Shackelford, Rogers) and 1 athlete. That should wrap up the 2023 receiver position, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Purdue goes after a big name receiver in the portal if one shakes loose in the spring.

If that doesn’t happen, the receiving group should still have plenty of talent (although mostly untested talent) on the roster for the 2023 season.

Instagram Request

If you’re on instagram, give Arhmad a follow. Social media followers (as weird as this is to type) help players land N.I.L. deals.