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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 26, Digital 6

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Page 59 of 110

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 26, ISSUE 6 58 When Jake Replogle first arrived on Purdue's campus, he was a 245-pound defensive end. He's grown consid- erably since, needing to make the adjustment to move inside to tackle. It's been a process, even though it may not seem like that to everyone. "It seemed like it happened overnight," said Danny Eze- chukwu, an end turned linebacker. "The kid who got here was 6-foot-3, maybe 240. He was like, 'I play end,' and I thought, 'I play end, too. What's going to happen to me?' " Entering this season, Replogle has increased his bench 100 pounds from that first year to 415, pushed his squat 125 pounds to 465 and his power clean nearly a hundred up to 340. He's intent on being even stronger this season — and he's eager to see how that affects his game. Of course, ballooning numbers don't tell the whole story in Replogle's transformation. It's just as much about functional strength. Both already have shown up. He can use the hefty upper body strength to "shock" offensive linemen, like he did on a play last season against Wisconsin 6-7, 320-pounder Walker Williams, who Replogle then bullied past to bury running back Dare Ogunbowale. The strength in Replogle's arms extends from shoul- ders to hands, allowing him to use his powerful — and long — arms to not only jar linemen but then lock out and hold them away from him. And at that point, "there's not much they can do," Replogle said. There's considerable strength in his hands, too, ev- ident in the way he's able to reach out and snatch a back or QB, then sling him down. Replogle credits that to the strength staff's willingness to work on more than just lifting big numbers — but also working on football strength, like hand-gripping. And being able to have strong hands secured to linemen means Replogle can control those guys, too. And then he relinquishes that when the time is right. "He's got great awareness of where the foot- ball is. He just has a knack of disengaging from the blocker at the right time," Darrell Hazell said. "It's kind of funny, when you watch him run in the open space, he looks like he's got arms (flailing). But when he plays in the box around people, he is spectacular. " There's plenty of strength in Replogle's lower half, too. It's proven beneficial when he faces 600-plus pounds worth of double teams, allowing him to hold his ground instead of getting pushed back. It's also not too bad of a tool to surge into the backfield. Against Indiana State in the home opener last year, Replogle made a 295-pound tackle look like a rag doll, easily flinging him off at the line so he could race in and tackle QB Matt Adam for a four-yard loss on a draw play from an empty backfield. "I think last year I was finally able to beat people just because of the strength that I've gained from the weight room," Replogle said. "That's something that I think gives me the edge on plays." Even his, uh, head is strong? "It's, like, the hardest thing in the face of this world. I swear," center Kirk Barron said. "If you get a Replogle head butt, it's going to hurt for the next couple plays." STRENGTH

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