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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 27, Digital 6

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Page 73 of 117

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 27, ISSUE 6 74 BY BRIAN NEUBERT O n June 5, Georgia Tech received its first verbal com- mitment for its Class of 2018, leaving Purdue as the last of 128 FBS programs without one. Then, just as it might have appeared worthy of some restlessness, came a run of summertime commitments un- like anything seen — ever — around the Boilermaker program. On June 25, less than three weeks after Purdue's basket sat empty, of- fensive lineman Jimmy McKenna became its 14th commitment toward new coach Jeff Brohm's first full re- cruiting class. "It's been ridiculous to watch," said defensive tackle commitment Law- rence Johnson, No. 13. Yes, during that 20-day window, Purdue averaged close to a verbal com- mitment per day, to the point where you'd have to think that if things don't slow down on their own, Purdue might take measures to slow them down, for fear of filling up too fast before this inherited roster has so much as taken the field under its first-year staff. Chicagoland linebacker Jaylan Alexander started the surge, pouncing on a Purdue offer that came in a few days after he attended camp in West Lafayette. Then came quarterback Jack Plummer and defensive back prospect Kadin Smith, another post-camp offeree. Defensive back Elijah Ball, tight end/defensive lineman Jack Cravaack and offensive lineman Charles Allen fol- lowed. Then came a six-day stretch in which Purdue landed at least one recruit each day: Wide receiver Cornelius McCoy, then offensive lineman Eric Miller, then DB Byron Perkins, then safety Cory Trice, then defensive end Connor Parks, then offensive tackle Will Bramel, then finally Johnson, one of Purdue's prime in-state targets. After a few days of quiet, McKenna committed during an unofficial visit. Purdue has been landing recruits of profiles pretty typical of the program's history, players that it got out in front of most of its peers on, offered first and landed early. But all 14 players were among Purdue's first wave of winter, spring or summer offers, indicative of a certain priority status. And once the first few commitments came in, things snow-balled, reflecting the response Purdue's new staff — among other factors — has drawn from prospects despite SUMMER SURGE Brohm's first full class largely took shape in June PRESENTS: FOOTBALL RECRUITING Brian Neubert Lawrence Johnson's commitment was important on multiple fronts. For one, the defensive tackle's position is a key 2018 priority for Purdue. For another, the Fort Wayne native was one of the Boilermakers' top in-state targets.

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