|Class of 1997 Purdue signee|
The stars aligned pretty well for me today- I'm awaiting a design review with a client this afternoon and just finished another project...so I had a few hours this morning with little responsibility. Coincidentally, it's signing day!!!
If you visit this site regularly, you probably know how little we like recruiting. And even more, we hate the grimy soap opera that surrounds verbal commitments, defections, bags of cash, car keys and promises of kids not having to take a class that will make them think too hard. But signing day is another story.
When the signatures are on the dotted line, they are no longer recruits, no longer prospects, but they're Boilermakers...and this year's class is exemplary in a lot of ways.
First off, like most of Hope's classes, these kids seem to really want to come to Purdue and play for him. Many sold the idea to fellow recruits via Twitter and FB and others spoke glowingly to the media about where they were preparing to play in college. A few years ago, Rob Henry started this trend by talking up the Boilers...this year nearly half of the class loved talking up West LaFiesta to their Twitter pals.
Rivals places this class at #35...you might notice that's a slight drop, but that's not because of anyone being lost at the last minute. But instead it was the commitments from the
highly-touted drama queens players who waited until the last possible minute to announce their choice just for EsPNU, earlier this morning. In the conference, Purdue is fourth; an unfamiliarly-high place.
Here's our look at this large class:
The biggest need coming into this season, by far, was offensive line. As skill and speed started rolling in early, I was reluctant to call this class a success as the need up front on offense was glaring. But as bigger and uglier beauties began giving their verbals, the class became better and better, in my opinion.
The foursome out of HS AVERAGES 6'5" 292 pounds...they're just mammoth. I think Hope will have the ability to redshirt them and give them a year to develop and get in shape...BUT, if Hope is around in five years, these guys might be one of the main reasons.
Jordan Roos was probably the most-ready to play as a Freshman before he blew out his knee in October. His recovery is going very well.
Cameron Cermin probably isn't too far behind Roos in development. Both Jason King and James "JJ" Prince will probably work into the rotation no later than their Sophomore seasons. Prince is 6'6" and looks to have the longest arms in the class...and King is a guy that I just like due to interactions on Twitter. King played a lot of his HS career out of a two-point stance and has great feet and loves to pancake ends.
The lone JuCo signee of this OLine class is Devin Smith. He's 6'5" 290...so Hope's class is consistent, if nothing else.
One interesting note is that three of these guys chose Purdue over playing for
genius Coach Charlie Weis...even without UND as his employer, he's still pretty tough to like.
Jonathan Curry is a guy I like a lot. He's a good blocker, has good size at 6'2" 225 (probably will benefit from a red shirt year as he'll need to be around 250 to hold his ground). He had one of the best offer sheets of this class, choosing Purdue over Arkansas, Nebraska, Stanford and others.
Carlos Carvajal, a tall, lean, athletic TE recruit comes by way of Milford Academy. His lack of weight might make it tough for him to block in the B1G...but since he's a mid-year enrollee, he'll have a leg up on some of his teammates. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he'll land at DE as his long arms, speed and athleticism would make him a great speed rusher.
Ryan Morris chose to play for Purdue over UCF, South Carolina, IU and others. He's 6'5" and 241 and reminds me a bit of Charles Davis. He's sure-handed, a decent blocker and is tough to bring down once he's turned the corner.
Austin Appleby, Bilal Marshall and Aloyis Gray are the three QB recruits in this class (with a fourth perhaps coming soon). I love the way the ball fires out of Appleby's hands- he's got a great throwing motion, good size and a good head on his shoulders. He's already blown out his ACL, so that's out of the way...and that might be part of the reason he ended up at Purdue. His last season in High School was quiet on the field as his team struggled to find wins.
Bilal Marshal had offers from Northwestern, GaTech, Baylor and others...before choosing to play for Hope. I could see him running the wildcat in Siller's stead almost immediately as he reads defensive ends well and has great quickness and long strides when he's out in the field. I think he could also follow Siller in that he seems destined to me to become a slot receiver.
Aloyis Gray isn't quite as fast as Marshall, and only played quarterback for a season. I think he'll end up at safety after a redshirt year.
Erich Berzinskas is a walk-on and has already enrolled at Purdue.
Hope did the right thing offering Danny Anthrop a scholarship...but this won't look like a charity case for long. He's lightning-quick and has been a dominant force just down the road from Purdue at Lafayette CC. His brother Dru plays for Matty...but he reminds me of another Purdue legacy (a few years ago), Jake Standeford (because of his motor and attitude) with Vinny Sutherland's legs.
The next guy doesn't just have Sutherland's legs, he looks like a clone. BJ Knauf is a lot more compact than Anthrop...the most noteworthy thing I find about Knauf is that he's got a pretty great sense of humor. He should be a good locker room guy right away. Unlike Sutherland, I don't think he'll play his first year on campus.
Cameron Posey has solid size (6'2"), very good hands, runs sneaky-precise routes and is deceptively fast. He reminds me of Drew Brees' favorite target, Chris Daniels.
Jordan Woods is a bit of a mystery man- I've never seen a video of him, he's got good size (6'3"), and not many offers.
Ryan Watson was one of the last guys to verbal to Hope...and his verbal seemed pretty soft when it happened. But, surprisingly to me, it stuck and he'll be coming to Purdue. He is listed at DE, but reminds me a bit of Kawaan Short when he came in...and will probably play inside after a red shirt year next to Gaston. Purdue beat out Illinois, Iowa, Penn State, Nebraska, Michigan, MSU, Wisconsin, Tennessee and others for Watson's services.
Kingsley Ike has my favorite name of the class. He reminds me a bit of Anthony Spencer as he is very quick on the end and has a swim move that made his foes whiff time and again as he swallowed up their QB. He plays with an attitude, mean-ness and swagger that I like quite a bit...in that way he's a bit like Shawn Phillips.
Greg Latta is a JuCo transfer who is already on campus and will play DE. At 6'6" and 265, he's physically ready to play right now.
Andy Garcia is a tightly-packed 6'0" player who is a sure tackler with good quickness and a pitbull mentality. I'd like to see him get a look at FB as well.
Jimmy Herman plays well in space and has solid closing speed...he'll benefit from an RS year.
Anthony Brown reminds me a bit of Josh Johnson, and will probably see the field no later than his Soph. year. I got to see Warren Central's Jordan Shine play in person a few times. He's a ball hawking safety who hits very hard, but isn't the biggest guy, yet. I think he'll remind you a bit of a healthy Albert Evans.
With Carson Wiggs looking to play later in the weekend in 2012, Hope knew it'd be tough to fill his void...so he signed not one, but two kickers. Paul Griggs and Thomas Meadows are those guys. Griggs will probably be the starter as he has a huge leg; similar to Wiggs in his ability to kick long field goals and was one of the top-rated kickers in the nation.
Will either grow into the title of "Most Exciting Kicker in America"? Who knows...but like Wiggs, one of them will be the starter from day 1.
One hole in this class, obviously is RB...but Purdue's situation at the position looks to be very strong for '12, but I wouldn't be surprised if Hope gets a big-time guy to buy into the program early next fall to take the place of Bolden/Shavers.
This is wild speculation, but here are a few opinions of the class.
With Purdue especially weak at Safety, I think Jordan Shine will see the field early. I think the same of Kingsley Ike at DE...as that position is in even more need of immediate help.
Paul Griggs should come in and kick with accuracy and consistency right away; he's highly-touted for a reason.
Best in 4 years:
By the time he has left Purdue, I think Austin Appleby will have started and won a lot of games. After a redshirt year, my hope is he'll push Rob Henry and earn some snaps as his skills are completely different than Henry's. Maybe I'm connecting dots that don't connect, but I think his ACL situation is similar to Brees' in the simple fact that without that injury, I think he'd be someplace else...probably aOSU.
Danny Anthrop's quickness and ability to make plays on special teams will make him tough to keep off the field as a true Freshman.
A late addition of Joey Warburg Olineman from Kentucky, makes this class one of the broadest I can remember- they come from 13 different states. I think this is a testament to Hope and his staff leaving no stone unturned this year.