The Recruiting Home Stretch

I've said it before- I have a hard time putting a ton of stock into the whims of an 18 year old. These guys are fickle...just like we all were at that age. Plus, the more of a diva the player is, the more he'll love the drama behind the recruiting game.

One thing I do like to look at, regardless of stars, is the situation surrounding the prospect- Injuries, region, reasons for loyalties and their other offers. It's happened quite often that a player will be a 2-3 star athlete, but has offers from world-beaters, or even just solid programs...Usually, that guy is a good "get".

Purdue received another verbal yesterday from a guy who is that type of player. He's not a high-ranking prospect, according to scout or rivals, but it seems he's a bit of a find...and will fit in nicely in West Lafayette. As you all know, Purdue's pathway to the NFL for DEs is well-documented. Kitchens, a one or two star prospect, is 6'4" and nearly 250 pounds right out of the box...he's not a soft 250 either, he runs a 4.7, according to a few sources, so he should be able to come off of the edge well, and he might be able to keep his speed and get to around 275, so he can be a run-stopper too. The offer that's noteworthy to me, that Kitchens has in hand, is Ole Miss. Houston Nutt is a coach who knows talent and has been around...Plus, he seems to be focusing on speed for his class, as is Hope.

Hope has also beaten out Nutt for Shayon Green (who seems to be a bit shaky of a commitment, at least to me, of late) and Gabe Holmes (who some say is the best TE recruit out of Fla). Another recurring theme is Purdue battling Florida Atlantic, Central Florida, South Florida, Vanderbilt and Louisville. The Florida connections are obvious as Hope, Nord and company have all come through the Sunshine State. While I won't do cartwheels as my alma mater beats out ConUSA teams for recruits, I do think this is process is laying a foundation for Hope's recruting model in the coming seasons.

He's also beaten FSU, Miami, Georgia Tech, West Virginia, Auburn and Nebraska for the services of a few in this class...These guys are the players that I think will be difference-makers as Freshmen...It's a good thing, because there is a definite need in multiple positions for guys who have the size, ability and mental make-up to play right away.

With 18 verbals now public knowledge, there are still two mystery men who should announce in the coming weeks, maybe both will be starting next semester...who knows? What we do know is Hope's recruting class was in the 90s-100s just weeks ago. And now, it is somewhere in the 60s according to different recruiting magazines...and might get into the 40s if just a handful of guys decide to head to West Lafayette for higher learning. That's not too bad in a transitional year, if you ask me.

This time of year always yields surprises for football programs too, some aren't always positive...regardless, recruting, while unsavory and infuriating as it can be is extremely important...And for every Craig Terrill who slips through the cracks and becomes a great college player, there is a Doug Van Dyke or Kyle Williams who never pans out in spite of great physical gifts...for one reason or another. Regardless of your opinion of this aspect of college football, recruiting is a necessary evil...and as we've seen on Purdue's basketball team, talent and guys being the right fit can make a big difference.

Football Jambalaya -- Rematch Edition