I've read and listened to a lot today about this incoming class...and a couple things stick out to me. First, the quote I liked the best came via GBI from a student...not a player...not a coach. But it was a reaction to hearing Coach Hazell speak this evening in Mackey.
"When you look at him compared to Coach Hope, he sounds more knowledgeable, sounds like he knows what he's talking about. Doesn't have those statements that make you scratch your head and wonder what he's talking about. He's concise, clear and you definitely can tell he's motivated."
-Tyler Gray, Purdue University Junior
Tyler's right on- there aren't many wasted words with Hazell...fans notice that, students are noticing...players will notice. On the same point, Danny Etling said that he thinks Hazell might be upset if he doesn't complete every pass in practice. A new sheriff is indeed in town, and as recruits are all noticing, the culture has to change and is already beginning to do so.
Hope perpetually had problems with depth at multiple positions because it seemed like he had no plan...Hazell mentioned creating depth two or three times through recruiting, development and movement of players as needed...but still isn't too happy with the safety position; will need to move some corners.
This class doesn't seem expect to be great or even good because they're great players...they seem to believe that their collective work and discipline will make them better. Another quote I liked was from David Yancey. He said he felt honored to be able to just go into Mollenkopf and work out each day.
The sense of entitlement that some players show in college football doesn't seem to be evident with this group of 23 signees.
Hazell likes the versatility of this class a lot- from RBs that can play in the slot, to lineman that can play as OLBs in the 3-4, TEs that can move outside or DEs that might be able to bulk up and become DTs with a meal or two.
And speaking of Des, one of Hope's biggest weaknesses in the last two years at Purdue was getting new DEs to come on campus and become the next guys in the Den. But Hazell and the staff, in mere weeks added to the class at that position specifically:
Antoine Miles, Johnny Tompson, Danny Ezechukwu, John Strauser, Jake Replogle and Evan Panfil are the DEs of 2013. Miles seems physically most-ready to play right away. Purdue beat out Nebraska, Pitt, WVU, Cincy and others for his services. Strauser's uncle coaches at Pitt, and Purdue still beat Pitt and Illinois out for him. Panfil de-committed from Illinois to come to God's country...and Replogle was the fourth Replogle to play college football in the last 6 years...the others all went to IU.
Just to their right or left, the Tackles are Johnny Daniels, a late addition to the class and Ra'Zahn Howard, who comes to Purdue via prep school...he's a big dude at 6'3" 305.
DBs include Austin Logan, Tyvel Jemison, Leroy Clark and Da'Wan Hunte. Logan is the biggest of the four, seems to be a natural safety that chose Purdue over Northwestern, Stanford, IU, Cincy...others. One of the gems of the class comes out of this group in Miami's Leroy Clark who chose Purdue over Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Florida and a few others. He seems to the most-likely to see playing time the most-quickly. Clark's video from high school is really fun to watch as he seems to be looking to score all of the time, regardless if he's playing offense or defense or what the situation is...and he was a ball hawk.
The lone LB in the class is Dezwan Polk-Campbell...which leads me to believe that one or more of the DEs in this class will move away from the line in the spring.
Obviously, Hope focused on QBs in the last class, but Hazell said a wide-open QB competition begins in spring ball...we talked about the battle between Henry, Appleby, Etling and Marshall a while ago. I like these guys quite a bit already- Henry's leadership, Appleby's attention to detail, Marshall's athleticism and Etling's drive to not rest will make this a tough race to have any favorites...I really want to see the right guy get the chance to run the show; getting rid of the two (three) QB system will be an improvement regardless of whom is named starter in August.
Only one Olineman in this class. 6'7", 310 pound, Jason Tretter chose Purdue over Harvard, Yale, Columbia and others...he was recruited by Hazell at KSU as well. Methinks that a guy with a bunch of Ivy League offers won't have much of a problem retaining the playbook. Let's all remember that five OLmen redshirted last fall and will be Freshman again in the fall...and all of those guys are Huuuuuuuge.
|Green stuck by his word.|
Keyante Green leads up a group of talented RBs...and this group has a few interesting stories. First off, Green fought the fact that he grew up as a Tennessee fan and received a late offer from the Vols to stay committed to Hazell and co. Green had a boatload of offers including Tennessee, aOSU, Ole Miss, UCLA, South Carolina and others. Keith Byars III, (son of aOSU great, of course) comes via prep school, but had offers from Louisville, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland and others. David Yancey had four siblings go to Purdue before him and Dalyn Dawkins was a late addition to the class...the only guy out of Kentucky.
Purdue picked up Garrett Hudson and Matt Burke at the TE slot. Burke played in the US Army All-America game and had a bunch of Ivy League offers along with Boise State and others. He's big (6'6"), but I'd expect him to spend a year getting stronger as Holmes and Carvajal are in front of him.
Only three pure WR are in this class...all 6'2" or taller:
Dan Monteroso de-committed from BC to play for Hazell...and also had an offer from Iowa and a few MAC schools. Deangelo Yancey chose Purdue over Ole Miss, Mizzou, NCState and others and Myles Norwood comes to Purdue after spending a year in Prep School.
The guys that will be competing for playing time right away look like Green, Etling, Clark, Logan and Miles. QB, RB, DB and DE all are a bit thin OR underexperienced.
It's a tough position for this coaching staff to come in so late in the recruiting season and still be able to land most of the guys who were on board for Hope's staff...but the old staff's last thumbprint at Purdue was keeping in contact with these guys...then the new staff attacked the in-home visits as soon as it was legal and did a pretty solid job. I believe we'll see fewer Florida guys and more Midwesterners (specifically Ohio) in next year's class, but tonight, the staff can rest, at least for a few days, knowing their first collective action as a staff was a success.
Next up, Spring ball.