Today we have a pair of players on the countdown that will both be contributors this coming season.
Michael Mendez - Jr.
- Los Fresnos, TX (Los Fresnos HS)
- 6’4”, 295 pounds
- Offensive Line
- 2018 Projection: Key Reserve on the Offensive Line
Experienced depth at multiple line positions is what Mendez brings to the table. He has played both guard and tackle over the last few years. While he may not start this season, he is a critical reserve that can play at either spot. Last season he saw action in 11 of 13 games. As a redshirt freshman in 2016 he played in eight games and started three times. That makes him a pretty important player as a backup. He can start in a pinch of needed and should play an even larger role next year. He will see playing time this season in almost every game.
Derrick Barnes - So.
- Covington, KY (Holy Cross HS)
- 6’1”, 240 pounds
- 2018 Projection: Likely starter
Full disclosure here: Travis was working on this article before his hotel internet crapped out. So I (Juan) am filling out the rest here for Derrick. I normally don’t do the countdown, and I am coming in at this last minute. So please forgive me if I miss many things here as I do this at the last minute. Last season, Barnes appeared in 11 games (missed Louisville and Wisconsin) and started in 2 of those games, recording 16 total tackles, 10 of those being solo. Barnes was certainly a rising freshman last season and, just like Purdue last season, exceeded expectations. While doing some quick research on Barnes, I noticed that he originally committed to Toledo, before flipping to Purdue after Brohm was hired. It’s good to see the players brought in by Coach Brohm already making vital contributions as this team continues to improve.