Wednesday, May 26, 2010
The Revolving Door: Purdue
By ESPN.com staff
Fifth in a series examining key players departing, staying and arriving at Big Ten schools.
Joey Elliott, QB: Elliott made the most of his only season as the Boilers' starter, putting up All-Big Ten caliber numbers on the field and displaying tremendous leadership off of it. He ranked second in the Big Ten in both passing yards (3,026) and touchdown passes (22), and he helped Purdue to a 4-4 record in league play after a hard-luck start.
Mike Neal, DT: The Big Ten had so many outstanding defensive linemen in 2009 that Neal seemed to get lost in the shuffle, but his contributions will be missed this fall. Boasting brute strength and strong run-stuffing skills, Neal ranked second on the team in sacks (5.5) and third in tackles for loss (11.5). The Green Bay Packers thought enough of Neal to select him in the second round of April's draft.
Keith Smith, WR: Smith became the latest Purdue wideout to top the Big Ten's receiving charts, leading the league with 1,100 receiving yards and tying for the league lead with 91 receptions. He had seven games of seven or more receptions and six 100-yard receiving performances. Smith aims for back-to-back All-Big Ten honors this season as Purdue's undisputed No. 1 wideout.
Ryan Kerrigan, DE: Other Big Ten defensive ends drew more national acclaim, but Kerrigan led the league and finished third nationally in sacks with 13. His performance in a win against Ohio State (3 sacks, 4 TFLs, 2 forced fumbles) will go down as one of the best in Purdue history, as he earned National Defensive Player of the Week honors. Kerrigan certainly will be on opponents' radar this fall.
Robert Marve, QB: The Miami transfer made a strong impression this spring and appears to have the inside track to the starting job in 2010. Marve's ability has never been in question, but his coaches and teammates have seen him mature in his time away from the spotlight. If Marve continues his evolution this summer and into the fall, Purdue could be very dangerous on offense.
O.J. Ross, WR: Purdue isn't exactly strapped for wide receivers, but Ross is a guy who could see the field early in his career. He's undersized at 5-10 and 175 pounds but brings tremendous speed and quickness to the field. Ross fits the mold of former Purdue standouts Dorien Bryant and Vinny Sutherland, receivers overcame their lack of size to put up monster numbers.
More revolving door ...