Today on the countdown we highlight a walk-on tight end who is looking to make a bigger impact this year.
Ben Furtney - Junior (RS)
South Elgin, IL (St. Charles North)
6’0, 225 pounds
2023 Projection: Special Teams Contributor/Reserve Tight End/Reserve Fullback
Furtney has had an interesting career at Purdue. He walked on to Purdue and redshirted during his first season with the team. In his second season he saw action in 11 games as a special teams player. Special teams players, except for someone like Devin Hester, get hardly any glory but their roles are so important. You might not make a single tackle on special teams but you can make a true difference in just filling your gap and sticking to the plan. It’s a difficult position and every player that contributes makes a difference.
In his third year in the program Furtney was named Academic All-Big Ten and played in eight games split between time at Fullback and again on special teams. During Purdue’s thrilling game at Maryland Furtney caught the first pass of his college career, a 20 yarder no less. I was at that game and I’ll admit it was a shock to see that catch and then hear Furtney’s name. It had to have been a great moment for the young man, to make such a crucial catch in a game on the road that Purdue HAD to have in order to keep pace in the conference race.
This season the outlook for Furtney lies in many different directions. There’s no doubt he will see the field on special teams, but will he be used in a fullback capacity again? The ability is there, but what are Purdue’s needs in the new Air Raid offense? Furtney has also shown an ability to play on defense. In the 2022 spring game he registered a sack. He’s a versatile player and that versatility may be his key to seeing the field during the 2023 season.