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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 27, Digital 1

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 27, ISSUE 1 36 Roos has had to overcome challenges throughout his Purdue career. Jordan Roos arrived to Purdue as a "gross" 320-pounder, coming off a torn ACL, and soon realized he didn't quite un- derstand what went into becoming a productive lineman at the college level. He already was strong, but he wasn't able early to turn that strength into power by playing faster. He wasn't fueling his body properly to maximize the work. He also was limited in flexibility and range of motion. And he heard about it. In Roos' redshirt freshman season, Coach Darrell Hazell mentioned Roos needed to work on flexibility, specifically being able to bend better. In Year 2, Roos' conditioning was questioned in terms of the ability to play a complete game — and coaches brought Corey Clements in to challenge Roos for a starting job. Even entering last season, Hazell didn't consider Roos a lock to start, saying then-freshman guard Martesse Patterson could make a move there and compete. Seemingly at every turn of his career, Roos was doubted, was pushed. And it's probably why he's entering this sea- son as an unquestioned leader, a player with more starts than anyone on the roster (30) and a fierce competitor. "You don't want to tell him he can't do something be- cause you're going to get a determined person," Peter Roos said. "But, in the end, it probably made him a better player and more mentally tough." Roos responded resoundingly each time. Based on the recommendation of a strength coach friend, Peter Roos suggested yoga. Jordan Roos tried it back home over a break, called it one of the hardest workouts he'd ever done and was hooked. After seeing the transforma- tion from incorporating that into his routine, Jordan Roos knew if he really wanted to gain a competitive edge, he needed more. So he approached Purdue director of sports nutrition Lauren Link and asked for an eating plan, too. It included, among other things, 10 eggs for breakfast and a pound-and-a-half of chicken breast and rice every day for lunch. Now, Roos actually looks svelte at 300 or so pounds. "He's a special kid," said offensive line coach Darrell Funk, who'd watched Roos while scouting opponents for years before arriving at Purdue last spring. "Every now and then you run across a guy that you keep that old saying, 'The cream always rises to the top.' It doesn't matter what adversity or what competition you put in front (of him), he just continues to find a way to up his game and get to a higher level." FLIP SIDE But Roos can surprise. He can showcase a persona that does not seem to mesh with the burly, ferocious lineman he projects. Not with the guy who invited the entire special needs class to his letter-of-intent signing in high school, wanting to make sure they were not overlooked in the celebration. Not with the guy who will cry watching American Idol. Not with the guy who plans to chop that free-flowing hair and donate it to "Wigs for Kids," a non-profit orga- nization, before Purdue's Hammer Down Cancer Game against Nevada at the end of September. Not with the guy who got choked up when he found out he was selected as captain. Not with the guy who predicted that'll happen probably another dozen times over the course of his final season, knowing such a shift in demeanor probably will confuse the freshmen he's mentoring. Not with the guy who journeyed to South Africa last May on a mission trip, an "emotional experience" that rekindled his faith. He was baptized soon after in Texas. But for Jordan Roos, it's the complete package that matters. The heart that swells when he's surrounded by orphaned kids in South Africa is the same that pumps vio- lently and overflows in passion on the field. "On the field, he's definitely a tough guy," lineman Ja- son King said. "Even in the weight room, he's our hype man. They call him the juice guy. (It's) come to him if you need juice. But off the field, when the whole team's not around, he's actually a pretty big softie." j

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