Sometimes a Bridesmaid

One of our regular visitors pointed out the importance of this season's recruiting class as it was setting up a pipeline from the Sunshine State straight to God's country. True, true. And while this recruiting season was a good step forward, especially from a speed standpoint, everything's not golden through our Purdue-shaded spectacles. Here are some of the recruiting losses that hurt, in my opinion:

-Sterling Griffin
Purdue was leader with Griffin until about 45 days ago...Griffin was one of the mythical silent verbals. He might be the most difficult verbal commitment to lose as his Dad was a Boiler football player. To me, this is a recurring theme that's unsettling; ex-Purdue players don't seem to steer or suggest their kids toward their alma mater...that's bothersome.
-Jordan Barnes
Barnes clearly has no problem giving his word...but keeping it seems to be a bit more difficult. Barnes is a case study in why you might not want to trust a 17 year old's word. Granted, not all recruits are as fickle...but this second mystery silent verbal gave Hope his commitment, after withdrawing his commitment from Rodriguez...and finally ended up signing on in Stillwater. A casualty of Barnes verbal seems to be Quan Fletcher- as Barnes became cozier with the Boilers, Purdue seemed to cool on Fletcher...and Fletcher wasn't feeling the love, so he ended up elsewhere.
-Dakotah Tyler
This UK commit placed Purdue in his top-two after withdrawing on his earlier commitment to IU.
-Morgan Newton
Newton was a Joe Tiller target his junior year as the ole Coach piggy-backed his visits to Jordan Brewer as opportunities to get in cozy with Newton. In the end, one of Newton's parents really liked UK, the other liked Purdue (via word of mouth rumors)...and I think his Mom's opinion won out. UK gets a big, strong-armed QB in Newton that might have battled Siller and Elliott for the starting role under Hope's system.
-Toben Opurum
This RB/FB chose Kansas...but Purdue was in the final three. How much of a great 1-2 punch might have ATM & Opurum turned out to be?
-Michael Buchanan
A 4-star defensive end definitely has to ponder Purdue if he feels comfortable there with Purdue's rich history of sending this position to the league. Hope's efforts nearly paid off for this Illinois product, but in the end, he thought he looked more handsome in orange.
-Josh Evans
One of the truly special all-around athletes in the nationwide class of '09 predictably ended up at Florida. But, at his press conference, he had a Purdue and UF hat on the close...yet...
-Montez Robinson
Purdue wasn't really ever in the running for the Avon, IN product...but at least Hope gave it a try...Robinson's top-three were Georgia, Alabama and Auburn.

The one(s) that did NOT get away
There's no need to focus on what you don't have, so instead let's look at some of the interesting wins coach Hope had in the closing days. GBI reported that while the eleventh hour of Purdue's recruiting season didn't seem too eventful to the outside world, but, it have been pretty hectic behind closed doors. I can almost picture Hope and company doing their due diligence and making sure the kids know they're all wanted in the waning hours of the recruting process just prior to signing day. There are quite a few guys that were solid commits to Coach Hope months ago...who actually kept their word when given the option to go elsewhere; and their parents and coaches also helped the young athlete stay true by backing him up. Offers from the newest, least-liked (within his conference) SEC coach, Lane Kiffin, were placed at the feet of a few Purdue players in an effort to woo them away from Hope...UND, in typical arrogant fashion thought it could poach some Boilers after not investing any time in the relationship.

One of the most interesting cases of a player standing firm is that of Najee Tyler...I've openly wondered about him because he had no major D-1 offers until late in the recruiting season, but Hope really likes his upside. I tried to figure out why ESPN had him rated higher than Rob Henry, and thought it might just be an East Coast bias. But he received some late attention from both aOSU and others. Perhaps he's the steal of this class...perhaps there are a bunch of steals, sleepers and under-the-radar guys. Regardless, it seems that a lot of these guys have yet to come close to playing their best football.

One last point of interest that's not gotten a ton of ink is that Purdue signee Brandon Taylor is the son of NFL Hall of Famer, Lawrence Taylor. Granted, he's a different type of player, and hopefully doesn't carry some of the baggage that his Dad lugged around, but the sons of NFL players sometimes understand more than anybody else just how hard you have to work to become great...And as my son might one testify to, genetics are what they are. Brandon clearly has a leg-up on many of his counterparts.

Still a Possibility?
According to Hope's press conference on signing day, he still hasn't ruled out signing additional players, if they're the right fit. One guy that I'm interested in is Dalapo Macarthy. He's got very good size, decent speed, and even if he's not a QB at the next level, he could probably find the field someplace (maybe a Ralph Turner-type player?). It seems like he's awaiting a Purdue offer, but rumors are swirling about academic concerns for this prospect. Another guy that I've been watching is Terence Davis out of Ohio. He doesn't seem to have the best speed, but has a big frame and could either be a possession receiver or grow into the TE position a la Dustin Keller.

Prank You Very Much

True Grit.