Michael Pointer of the Indy Star has probably earned himself a contract on his head from Morgan Burke by writing this article saying that Danny Hope has been unable to connect with in-state -- and specifically Indy-area -- recruits.
I'm not close enough follower of football recruiting to know how accurate any of this is, but it's hard to argue with the points that Pointer makes:
- Purdue has landed just seven of Indianapolis' three-star recruits, according to Rivals.com during Hope's tenure
- Purdue has brought in none of the 14 four-star players
- In the five classes prior to that, Purdue landed eight of the 17 three-stars and two of the five four-stars
- Defensive end Robert Maci (Cathedral) and linebacker Joe Gilliam (Southport) were the only Indianapolis area players listed on the two-deep depth chart entering preseason practice
Hope's comment on it all?
"If all of them good guys would have come to Purdue the first year I was here, we wouldn't have taken as many from Florida," said Hope, referring to the 2008 recruiting class in which Purdue missed out on some high-level Indianapolis targets.
I see. Hear that, Florida recruits?
To be fair, the story also features Ben Davis coach Mike Kirschner and Pike coach Derek Moyers commenting on how much they see and are in contact with Coach Hope and the recruiting staff of the football program, especially as compared to Joe Tiller, who Kirschner says he never spoke personally with.
It sounds like these guys are indeed hustling and are making the recruiting effort that we chided Tiller for not making in his later, more tired years. So what's going on?
It could be just a shift in the times. It could be bad luck. It could be coach Mark Hagen's defection from Purdue IU two years ago. Hagen was "the Boilermakers' primary recruiter in Indianapolis for nearly a decade." How big a deal is that? Hard to say. And it certainly didn't start this downward trend.
It's possible that the coaches, such as Landholm (who is largely responsible for the Indy area) and Hope, aren't having the impact on the recruits that they need to have. Or maybe it's the on-campus visits and seeing the second-smallest venue in the Big Ten not nearly filled to capacity, or seeing students nearly rioting when they "upset" a 6-6 team. Those things aren't lost on 4 star recruits, especially when they can do a nearly side-by-side comparison against another program with twice as many fans in the stands and more success on the field.
Whatever it is, it is just one more log on the metaphorical fire that is this season. The question now becomes, will it be a bonfire, with a joyful, partylike atmosphere? Or a dumpster fire, with messy results?