Siller's return should bolster Purdue offense

Purdue offensive coordinator Gary Nord probably has a big smile on his face today. Boilers quarterback Robert Marve, too.

Nord and Marve will have another weapon at their disposal this season, as former starting quarterback Justin Siller will be back on the field.

Siller, dismissed last March for violating university academic policy, has been reinstated after a year away from the school and the football team. He spent the last year taking classes at Ivy Tech Community College and was able to come back following Purdue's 2009-10 academic term.

According to a news release from the team, Siller will be an option at all the offensive skill positions this season.

"We are thrilled that Justin is back in our football family,” Purdue head coach Danny Hope said in a statement. “We said when he was dismissed from school that he would always be welcomed back. It is a credit to Justin that he did what he had to do to make himself eligible for reinstatement, and I am confident he learned from his mistake."

Earlier this spring, Hope was optimistic that Siller would return for 2010. Nord told me in March that Siller would be too far behind the other quarterbacks to compete for playing time there, but he'll be a factor at running back or wide receiver.

Siller began the 2008 season as a running back before switching to quarterback.

“It feels great to be back," Siller said in a statement. "My goal all along was to come back. Even though I was away from the team, I always felt as though I was still part of the program. It was tough sitting out last season, but I learned a valuable lesson. I am proud of the way my teammates overcame some tough early losses last season and won some big games. I am so excited to get back on the field and learn the offense."

It will be interesting to see where Siller ultimately ends up playing. Purdue clearly has a need at running back following Ralph Bolden's knee injury this spring, but at 6-4 and 220 pounds, Siller would seem to fit better as a wide receiver or a tight end.

Siller has two years of eligibility remaining. He'll wear jersey No. 2 this season after previously wearing No. 5, now worn by running back Al-Terek McBurse and linebacker Antwon Higgs.