To call last year a disaster would be an understatement when it comes to the Purdue Boilermakers’ football season. After signing 18 freshman yesterday, Purdue hopes to kick-start their rebuild process a year early.
In coach Darrell Hazell’s first season, Purdue finished 1-11 and 0-8 in the Big Ten. It was the schools worst season since going 1-10 in 1993 and the eighth time they’ve won one game or less in a season since Purdue first fielded a football team in 1892.
Purdue’s 2014 recruiting class is not on the same level as Alabama’s or Ohio State’s but they never have been. Getting a four-star recruit is a big deal in West Lafayette, especially when Purdue has only pulled one five-star recruit in its history.
Hazell was able to pull in just one four-star recruit this season. Gelen Robinson, son of Purdue basketball legend Glenn Robinson, is ranked as the 13th best defensive end in the country. At 6-foot-1 and 231 pounds, Robinson is the perfect candidate to help Hazell restore Purdue’s reputation as the “Den of Defensive Ends”.
Purdue also added seven three-star recruits, led by quarterback David Blough. Blough is being compared to former Purdue star Drew Brees. Both are undersized, hail from Texas and were not heavily recruited. Blough was an Elite 11 quarterback camp finalist and even drew praise from former NFL QB Trent Dilfer.
Blough will battle with current four-star, starting quarterback Danny Etling to see who will start under center at the beginning of next year. So not only is Hazell bringing back the “Den”, but he’s also bringing back the reputation of Purdue being the “Cradle of Quarterbacks”.
Shoring up the offensive line was another one of the biggest concerns heading into the offseason. The line gave up 38 sacks last season, which caused Hazell to pull in four recruits — two three-star recruits and two two-star recruits — none weighing less than 260 pounds.
Hazell had to replace his best defensive back, Ricardo Allen, and his Ray Guy Award finalist punter, Cody Webster. Not easy tasks. Three-star recruit Tim Cason — ranked 52nd best defensive back in the nation — will be looked at to replace Allen. Two-star recruit Austin McGehee will likely get a chance to pull double duty on special teams as punter and kicker.
Was Purdue’s recruiting class flashy? No. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be effective in their rebuilding process. Filling in the holes, while getting players that fit Hazell’s system was the most important part this year and that’s exactly what Purdue did.