Hazell's Second Class is Signed
The online magazines and experts don't like Darrell Hazell's second class; that's obvious. The class is ranked last in the B1G according to most experts...and just higher than 70th in the nation.
Coming off of an 11 loss season has consequences. This is one of them. Purdue didn't have much defection at the semester, but the coaches paid the price in the closing few days before today. A couple of guys that might prove to be good college football players decided to go elsewhere. Their verbal commitments (which are worth nothing, by the way) were between the length of four days and a few months...but they were poached. It happens, it's no fun, it feels like betrayal...but it isn't the end of the world. We as fans, and the kids who actually play the game don't want players/teammates who don't want to be in West Lafayette, so good riddance. I hope the guys that signed their names on the line for Coach Hazell are very happy with their decisions.
Kirk Barron and David Blough are already on campus, taking classes and getting acclimated, so they were at the press conference today. Blough is a fire hydrant OLineman that tops 300 pounds already, Blough is a slightly-undersized QB from TX with a bit of a chip on his shoulder and a competitive streak that could push him into kicking Etling and Appleby in the can next fall. The rest of the players faxed (yes, people still fax) their LOIs from their school. Here are some of my highlights from this class:
Gelen Robinson might seem familiar to you...because of his pops (and name), of course. The 6'1" 235 DE/LB is a bulldog on the football field and a monster on the wrestling mat...So he can tackle. He hits hard, has a great motor and is the highest-rated player in this class. The only four-star athlete in the group had offers from Vandy, Mizzou, IU and others. If he doesn't start right away, he'll play a lot. I'd be shocked if he wasn't pushing the LBs and Ends already in the stable in August...but you never know. Of all the players that I thought would be poached, this was the guy that I didn't want to jinx...so I hardly ever even recognized him/talked about him on Twitter, or anywhere else. I'm glad this legacy is a Boilermaker. One cool sidenote, he was #9 in high school, but will be wearing the #13 to either honor his Dad OR because he really likes Akin Ayodele.
More than stars, I like to see players who get the interests of a lot of programs. Jawhaun Bentley is one of those guys. At 6'2" 245, he's got pretty good size right away, is smart and efficient and plays well in space. He'll eventually be the quarterback of this defense as an inside guy who knows not only where he should be, but where everyone else should be. He had offers from WVU, Iowa, Rutgers and others...and is out of new B1G state, Maryland.
JuCo OLineman, Corey Clements is listed on Rivals as a 6'8" 330 pounder...his JuCo coach said he's closer to 400...Yeah, FOUR HUNDRED POUNDS. He said if he gets down to 380, he'll be in great playing shape. At 6'8", it's possible...and based on his videos, the size is legit as he looked like a man playing with kids at the JuCo level. He has pretty good footwork and will probably play RT at Purdue. What I do know, is he is needed right away.
Juan Jenkinns is a 6'0" 195lb strong safety who played weakside LB and MLB a lot in high school. He likes to hit and knows how to get cleanly through traffic as he sheds blockers. This Gainsville, FL player had offers from a ton of schools including, UCF, Minnesota and IU.
Martesse Patterson is 6'3", 310 pounds of QB protection. I hope he gets a year to redistribute the weight a bit, but if not, he might be able to crack the two-deeps as a Freshman. He had offers from Cincy, Illinois, IU and others.
At 6'0" 180, Tim Cason of Michigan is a CB with solid size...He didn't have a ton of offers, but could prove to be a steal. He's got very good hands, changes direction quickly and likes to hit...He could end up at safety, but if he doesn't he'll be one of the more physical corners on the roster.
Austin McGehee is a 6'1" 201 pound kicker from Arkansas...I mention him only because I really like the kid via Twitter. He's got some swagger and is excited about getting to Purdue. And, as we all know, kicking duties are far from set based on what we saw last season.=
DE Will Comery intrigues me a bit. He's the only true pass rusher in the class...and at 6'5" 248, with long arms, he reminds me a bit of Kerrigan as a pup. Much like Kerrigan, he looks like a kid as a Senior in High School and will surely change quite a bit before leaving God's country.
Bearooz Yacoobi deserves a mention simply because he has the best name I've ever heard. He's a 6'5" 260 lb. OT who will need a year or two of development before he sees the field...but I'm excited to hear his name announced over the PA. He changed his verbal committment a bit over a month ago to Purdue from one of the directional Michigan schools.
This isn't the entire class...but most of this class will need a year or two to develop before they are on the field. But as we saw last season, youth is already sprinkled throughout the starting line-ups on both defense and offense. Purdue was able to redshirt quite a few players last season that need to show some return on investment come fall of '14.
I said this earlier on Twitter, Joe Tiller's first class had a similar ranking, according to recruiting mags, as this one. That class turned into a corps that was built around...had a bunch of all-conference guys, a few All-Americans and a handful of players that played (and play) in the NFL. I'm not saying this class is that one. What I am saying is ratings aren't everything if guys are in the right place, are hard workers, fit well in the system and have good chemistry with their teammates.
Regardless of their ratings, I'm glad that these guys are in the fold...and really want to be Boilermakers.