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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 27, Digital 6

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 27, ISSUE 6 36 he were a player-coach, something head coach Jay Cline hasn't seen since. Later Cline watched as players streamed out of his quarterback's car before early-morning workouts — Blough had picked up team- mates who didn't have rides — and still arrived early enough to beat most of the rest of the team. And Blough stayed later, too, endearing himself to everyone on the team, Cline said, which meant when Blough spoke, the team was not fragment- ed. Everyone listened. Like during Blough's senior year with Creekview, facing a 21-point halftime deficit with a spot in the playoffs on the line. He gathered his teammates and kept telling them it wasn't over, that they'd come back be- fore against that team and would do it again, imploring them to keep fighting. Inspired by their leader's words — and his subsequent own fight — Creekview com- pleted the comeback. "That's just something that's always stuck with me," Cline said, "for a kid to be able to do that at that age, to hang in there and do that. I think that exemplifies everything about him." Just before arriving at Purdue, Blough held the No. 1 spot on the leaderboard for the Elite 11 entering the 7-on-7 competition. As the head coach of the event, for- mer NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer watched as Blough emerged as an unlikely alpha male. "(He) had two stars coming into this thing on his team of 13 studs, he owned it from the second he got into the room with them. There was no doubt who the captain of that ship was," Dilfer was quoted as saying in "The QB: The Making of Modern Quarterbacks" by Bruce Feldman. During his first spring at Purdue in 2014, Blough struck older teammates immediately with his demean- or. How willing he was to do extra workouts, whether it was swimming early in the morning or getting throw- ing sessions in with receiver Greg Phillips. How willing he was to share of himself, to be vulnerable and invite such responses in return, a true process of trust-build- ing, planting seeds for a friendship with linebacker Danny Ezechukwu. "Everything about David is natural. It's not a façade," Ezechukwu said. "I think that's why I gravitated toward him in the first place. It's not because, 'Oh, I've been placed here, I have to be this way.' David was this way when he got here and he was behind Danny Etling and Austin Appleby. David was what you see right now, and I guess I really appreciate him for it." Without a certain makeup, a certain character, no one would follow. Blough has worked to gain teammates' respect — and he's earned it by his actions speaking more loudly than his words ever could. Teammates said he's the example of a guy who does things "right," in every way that can be defined. He goes to class, gets good grades (3.61 GPA) and is Tom Campbell David Blough has impressed teammates with many traits, especially his leadership. "David is just as much a lead-by-example guy as he is a verbal leader, which is cool because some guys have one and not the other. But David's got them both," running back Markell Jones said. "He's going to do the right thing and say the right thing and he's going to encourage you to do both. That's cool about David."

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