Hope in Unchartered Territory as Purdue's HC

We don't talk about recruiting too regularly here at BS.  Maybe it's conditioning from the many disappointments recruiting has brought us.

From four and five-star players like Van Dyke, Williams and Lymon (and recently Calvin Smith) who disappoint on and off the field...to defections just prior to signing day that rock the collective world of Purdue football (and basketball for that matter), it's easier just to assess after players based on what they actually become (instead of potential).  Star ratings are nice after all, and it's not a coincidence that the best teams in the nation have the most-talented recruits...but a smattering of talented players over the course of a decade does not a team make.  In fact, fulfilling needs and getting guys that are good program fits seems to make more sense.  Teams like Wisconsin, Stanford, Northwestern, West Virginia and Iowa all do very well following that model.

Hope has been able to find speedy skilled players during his time in God's country, but not too many have panned out.  In spite of being called one of the best recruiting coaches in America by a few magazines prior to starting as Tiller's successor, we just haven't seen evidence of this in the complete classes.

Bruce Gaston, ATM, OJ Ross, Gabe Holmes, Ricardo Allen and others all have looked tremendous on paper...but no Hope recruit has received all conference honors...and more-importantly, none of Hope's teams has finished with a winning record- which, of course, is the goal at the end of the day.

Hope's recruiting classes have been dead-last in the league (according to recruiting mags) for two out of his three years as head coach...not because there weren't some good parts in the classes, but because the classes were incomplete and had a lot of pieces that simply didn't seem to belong in the B1G.

On top of not having high-star ratings not being landed, I was more bothered that needs simply weren't met.  Last year, Purdue needed O linemen, DEs and QBs.  When signing day came, Purdue had ZERO of any of these.  And ironically, Hope has struggled mightily to get natural offensive lineman on campus and has been forced to move players around...which isn't the end of the world...but surely isn't a positive.

But this year's class seems to be different, at least three-plus months prior to signing day.

First off, program needs are being filled.  Purdue needs a kicker- they're going to get a few in this class.  Hope still desperately needs OLmen, he's getting a few.  And these guys are made for the position as they're tall, long-armed and big right out of the box.  Quarterback is another position still needing attention, and Hope is getting a solid player (who has had a horrible Senior season) and another who probably will not play a down at QB in college.  Purdue needs safeties, and they'll get some in this class...But DE is still woefully-inadequate, sadly.  And this season, we've seen the importance of having (or not having) consistent pass rush off the edge.

The apple of Hope's eye continues to be speedy skilled players and this class has few of those guys yet again...but top-to-bottom, the 2012 class looks pretty good, no matter who you talk to.

Purdue currently ranks #4 in the B1G and #29 in the nation (according to Rivals)...and that is a massive step forward from rankings consistently in the 50s and lower...and talent is an important part of the equation.

Purdue still has some open spots for this class and supposedly has a few verbals that haven't been publicized...but a lot can and will happen before signing day. As a Purdue fan, I expect nothing less.

Handsome Hour: 10/12/11

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