Now that we’re not burning the candles at both ends with an active football and basketball schedule, I thought it would be a good time to go back and cover a few recruits that we missed on signing day. Jamarrion Harkless is one such recruit.
“Chops” Harkless, a 3*, 6’4”, 320 pound defensive tackle, was a pleasant signing day surprise for Coach Walters.
They call him . @JamarrionHarkl2 is a !— Purdue Football (@BoilerFootball) December 21, 2022
Chops is one of Purdue’s highest rated recruits for a reason. The highly sought after nose tackle out of Lexington, Kentucky was originally committed to Auburn before backing off in early December. It’s tough to find big men that can move like Chops, which is why he held 21 offers heading into signing day, including offers from Auburn, Illinois, Ole Miss, Cincinnati, Georgia, Louisville (lol), LSU, Michigan, South Carolina, and West Virginia. Outside of George Karlaftis, this is the most impressive offer list I’ve seen over my decade of writing for Hammer and Rails. He could have played anywhere, and chose to play for Purdue. That says something about Coach Walters.
I love this film. Sometimes you see a guy his size, and he sort of stands around at the line and snags ball carriers that run into him. Chops doesn’t wait for the running back (or quarterback) to come to him, he goes and finds them.
There are ample examples of him being big, strong, and immovable in his film, but he doesn’t touch anyone on my favorite play. The other team runs a screen, he notices no one is blocking him, stops, and swaps down the screen pass with a massive paw. That’s high level football acumen wrapped up in a 320 pound package.
Like most big dudes, the Purdue strength and conditioning staff will work to lean him up a little and make sure he’s mostly carrying good weight. He moves well, which tells me he’s not that far away. If anything, he might be able to loose a little around the waist (who couldn’t other than Ledman) and gain a little weight in the legs. He’s got the type of frame that could lean up while gaining weight. He’s the perfect size for a nose in Purdue’s new system, and I expect to see him on the field in some capacity sooner, rather than later.
How He Fits
With Lawrence Johnson moving on (he’s moving on right?), Purdue needed another nose behind Cole Brevard and the returning Damarjhe Lewis. They found that in Harkless. I’m not sure how much to expect from him in his first year. If he’s on the field a good bit, that either means he’s really, really good, or Purdue’s really, really injured. I don’t see him red shirting.
This class fell apart late, but the addition of Harkless helps ease the pain. He’s a big (and more ways than one) pick up at a position that is hard to recruit. Impressive work by the staff.