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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 4

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 4 45 In McKenna, Will Bramel and Eric Miller, Purdue hopes it's taken a step in deepening its reserves at offensive tackle. All three will need size and strength, but should those necessary steps be made, all three could come to the forefront on the depth chart relatively quickly in their careers, out of sheer need. Height: 6-5 Weight: 275 High School: Avon Hometown: Avon, Ohio Senior Stats: n/a I t wasn't only Purdue that liked Jimmy McKenna. The 6-foot-5, 275-pounder had offers from more than three dozen other schools when he committed to Purdue in June, including the likes of Michi- gan State, Minnesota, Pitt and Illinois. But it was Purdue, where McKenna had unofficially visited twice during the offseason, that drew in the offensive tackle who signed in December. "He's super athletic," Avon High School coach Mike Elder said. "He was a mid-fielder in lacrosse and so I think that's the No. 1 thing that separates him from everyone else is his tremendous frame along with the athleticism and the control he has with his body. "He's a little light right now, but he's going to easily pack on the weight. He just needs some time in (Purdue's) culture in the weight room as well as nutrition (program). But he has a lot of potential and upside once he fills that frame out." McKenna, a second-team All-Ohio player as a senior, started at left tackle in 2017, playing at about 250 pounds, after being the starting right tackle as a junior. McKenna could potentially be an interior lineman at Purdue, but Elder thinks the offensive lineman might stay outside because of his agility. At left tackle last sea- son, McKenna showed an ability to get outside quickly to slow the rush of defensive ends and protect the quar- terback's blindside. "He has some toughness," Coach Jeff Brohm said in December. But McKenna is still developing, too. Although Purdue needs instant-impact offensive linemen, particularly tackles, McKenna might not be ready to do that. Not many freshmen are. He'll need time to develop, Elder said, like a redshirt year to gain weight, then another to adjust to an extra 30-to-40 pounds. But the veteran coach thinks McKenna can be at least a two-year starter. "I don't think Purdue would have recruited him unless they felt that way," Elder said. The Purdue Fit Did You Know? In 2016, Avon's starting tackles were Sam Gerak, now a second-year lineman at Northwestern, and Jimmy McKenna, who will soon arrive at Purdue. Jimmy McKenna Offensive lineman "McKenna is a good athlete for the po- sition who needs to add weight and strength without sacrificing his movement skills. If he can play closer to 300 pounds with the added strength benefit that weight provides while still being light on his feet, he could materialize into a very nice tackle." — Midwest analyst Josh Helmholdt take

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