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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 4

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Page 29 of 88

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 4 30 ways vital, and I like the crew we got." And fellow DBs Jordan Rucker, Elijah Ball and Kadin Smith are each around 6-foot, and physically mature at positions where incom- ing recruits are often either short or skinny or both. Expect to see a freshman or two on the field for Purdue in the fall, most likely, with Rucker looking on paper like perhaps the safest bet due to need at corner and his apparent physical readiness. "They're pretty far along, probably a little further along than some of the positions as far as what they look like, the weight they're at," Brohm said of his secondary recruits. "I think they'll definitely come in and compete for spots, add to the competition, and it wouldn't sur- prise me if some of these guys are ready to (play)." Wide Receiver: If the best-case scenario unfolds for Brohm as he builds Purdue's program, this will be one of its signature positions, and he'll hope this group is a step in that direction. The Boilermaker staff pulled a coup when its months-long ef- forts to flip Rondale Moore from his commitment to Texas paid off. Brohm's connections to Moore and his school — Louisville Trinity, Brohm's alma mater — ran deep and loomed large in landing the nationally recruited offensive athlete from New Albany in Indiana. One of the fastest and most athletic receiver prospects in the coun- try, Moore's small but stronger than his size would suggest, and blaz- ing fast, the sort of player Purdue will scheme to showcase, undoubt- edly. For more on Moore, see pages 40-41. As ground-breaking a recruiting conquest as Moore was for Pur- due, by historical program standards, it shouldn't overshadow totally the rest of the signing class. Amad Anderson Jr., who's already on campus, thus making him a great candidate to compete to play right away, was another of Pur- due's earliest and top targets at wide receiver. And after Anthony Mahoungou changed the trajectory of Purdue's season in Year 1 under Brohm and staff with the consequential plays he made against Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana and Arizona, the Boiler- makers need to replace the size he brought to the position, and did so with both Ohio's Kory Taylor and Georgia's Jordan Bonner. Moore is almost certain to play for Purdue as a freshman, and An- derson Jr. could stand a great chance due to him already being in the program, but with Mahoungou and Gregory Phillips gone and Purdue needing help — and ideally an upgrade — at wide receiver, everyone will get a look come August. Whether it's any of these positions or others, the Class of 2018 should have a chance to establish a meaningful presence for Purdue right away as the program transitions quickly from inherited person- nel to a fully Brohm-recruited roster. FAST START IN 2019 By any measure, Purdue closed more ground on 2019 while recruiting 2018 than might have been expected for a new staff. Throughout the past year, Boilermak- er coaches have hosted more high-value underclassmen targets on campus than ever before in recent Purdue memory, including most of the best prospects in Indiana, Kentucky and throughout the Midwest. Purdue's home games in the fall brought numerous offered underclass- men to campus and its winter visit win- dows have done the same. An example: Avon running back Samp- son James, who holds Ohio State, Mich- igan, Georgia, USC and Notre Dame offers, among countless others — has visited Purdue twice this winter, for two of its basketball-game visit events. "I wasn't looking at them (as an op- tion) before, but that (interest) sprung open this year," James said. "Jeff Brohm turned that program around and got them a bowl game win. They're on their way up." Nationally recruited Indianapolis wide receiver prospect David Bell came to West Lafayette at first opportunity, as well. Purdue already holds what's believed to be the earliest commitment in school history and one of the highest-profile, as West Lafayette High School defensive end and tight end George Karlaftis com- mitted in September. His list of offers, whether they came prior to his commit- ment or after, includes Michigan, Ohio State, USC, Notre Dame, Clemson, Ten- nessee and Penn State. Purdue also got a late-February com- mitment from Michigan City linebacker Chase Triplett. — Brian Neubert

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