Big Ten: Jeff Lindsay
We've seen plenty of players over the years play both football and basketball or quit one sport to concentrate on another. Rarely have we seen a player who has focused on one sport -- Bade played in 58 games for the basketball team, averaging 1.2 points and 1.6 rebounds -- to try another sport midway through his career. Bade is a junior.
Bade, in fact, hasn't played football since his junior year of high school. But he's 6-foot-8, and you can't teach that.
"I’ve seen his junior film, and he looks like a pretty good prospect for us," Purdue coach Danny Hope said. "He’s a big-body guy who plays a position where we have a quite a bit of youth and not a lot experience, so he’ll be able to compete right away. We’re happy to have him aboard.”
Hope has been trying to add depth at tight end following the departure of seniors Kyle Adams and Jeff Lindsay. Recruit Carlos Carvaja joined the team in May, and junior college transfer Sterling Carter participated in spring practice. The Boilermakers also have sophomore Gabe Holmes, who had one catch last season.
Whether Bade turns out to be a notable addition remains to be seen. Purdue fans can only hope this hardwood-to-tight-end transition works out as well as it did for Antonio Gates.
2010 overall record: 4-8
2010 conference record: 2-6 (T-9th)
Offense: 8; defense: 9; kicker/punter: 2
QB Rob Henry, RB Ralph Bolden, WR Antavian Edison, WR Justin Siller, LT Dennis Kelly, DT Kawann Short, CB Ricardo Allen, LB Dwayne Beckford, S Logan Link, K Carson Wiggs
DE Ryan Kerrigan, LB Jason Werner, TE Kyle Adams, RB Dan Dierking, WR Cortez Smith
2010 statistical leaders (*returners)
Rushing: Rob Henry* (547 yards)
Passing: Rob Henry* (996 yards)
Receiving: Cortez Smith (434 yards)
Tackles: Logan Link* (91)
Sacks: Ryan Kerrigan (12.5)
Interceptions: Ricardo Allen* (3)
1. Henry makes strides: Rob Henry began the spring as Purdue's No. 1 quarterback, and he only helped himself throughout the session. Coach Danny Hope called Henry the team's most improved player during the offseason, and the team agreed by voting the sophomore as a co-captain for the 2011 season. The subplot is the impending return of Robert Marve, the Miami transfer who began last season as the starter before a torn ACL. There's a lot invested in Marve, but Henry seems like the team's choice.
2. Edison lights it up: Purdue got a bad break when the NCAA inexplicably denied receiver Keith Smith a sixth year of eligibility. The team needed other wideouts to emerge this spring, and Antavian Edison answered the bell. The junior speedster stood out in several scrimmages, and Purdue would be wise to get the ball in his hands as much as possible this fall. Edison and Justin Siller give Purdue a nice 1-2 punch in the passing game.
3. Shavers steps forward: Ralph Bolden will return from a torn ACL this season, but Purdue should have more options in the backfield. Junior college transfer Akeem Shavers turned in a solid spring, earning the team's top newcomer award on the offensive side. The 5-11, 200-pound Shavers runs with power and should be able to spell Bolden or potentially take on a larger role. Purdue's coaches want to use multiple backs in the offense, and Shavers certainly will be in the mix.
1. Marve, Bolden return from injuries: Torn ACL's wiped out Purdue's projected starting offensive backfield in 2011, but Marve and Bolden both will be back in the mix this summer. Both players have had multiple ACL tears, so it will be interesting to see how they respond on the field. Marve needs a strong preseason to leapfrog Henry at quarterback. Bolden, meanwhile, is viewed as the team's top option at running back and could have practiced full-go this spring but was limited as a precaution.
2. Replacing Superman: Purdue loses only two defensive starters, but when one is Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Ryan Kerrigan, it's a concern. The team lacks depth at defensive end and really needs veteran Gerald Gooden to get healthy and produce consistently this fall. Robert Maci and Ryan Russell took the first-team reps this spring and had their moments, as Russell earned the defense's top newcomer award. Still, this certainly will be a position to watch going forward.
3. Tight end: Other than defensive end, this is the other spot where Purdue loses a lot because of graduation. Kyle Adams and Jeff Lindsay both depart, and the coaches are looking for others to step in. Gabe Holmes exits the spring as a potential No. 1 option, although junior college transfer Sterling Carter also is in the mix. If Purdue can solidify this spot, it could have a pretty potent offense this fall.
While the Boilers likely will have a tough time replacing All-American Ryan Kerrigan at defensive end, they've been proactive about addressing the tight end spot. After adding junior college tight end Sterling Carter in December, Purdue announced Tuesday it has signed Carlos Carvajal, a high school tight end from, you guessed it, Florida.
The 6-foot-5, 210-pound Carvajal, ranked as the nation's No. 28 tight end by ESPN Recruiting, will join the program this summer.
"Carlos is an excellent prospect at a position we need to add some depth," Purdue coach Danny Hope said in a prepared statement. "He brings athleticism and height, and has the potential to be a great complement to Gabe Holmes, Sterling Carter and all of our tight ends."
Holmes exited the spring as Purdue's top tight end, but Carter also will be in the mix. The Boilers lose top tight end Kyle Adams, the team's leading receiver last fall, along with Jeff Lindsay.
This move along with Carter's signing underscores how much Purdue values the tight end position in its offense.
Let's start off with Purdue, the Big Ten squad furthest along in its spring session.
Strongest position: Offensive line
- Key returnees: LT Dennis Kelly, RG Ken Plue, C Peters Drey, LT Nick Mondek, G Rick Schmeig
- Key losses: LG Justin Pierce
- The skinny: Purdue has a lot of questions to answer at the offensive skill positions this spring, but the line looks solid. How solid? "I believe it's going to be the strength of our offense," coordinator Gary Nord recently told me. Purdue boasts experience at every position, particularly with Kelly and Plue. It won't be hard for this group to develop chemistry before the 2011 season. Although Purdue's offensive numbers dipped in 2010, the Boilers showed they could run the ball at times and should have a much more dynamic unit this coming season. You could make a case for the secondary here as well, but the amount of returning experience along the O-line puts it over the top.
- Key returnees: None (newcomer Sterling Carter is an intriguing prospect)
- Key losses: Kyle Adams (team-high 36 catches for 244 yards); Jeff Lindsay (nine catches for 72 yards)
- The skinny: Purdue had a small senior class in 2010 and tight end is one of few positions that took a hit because of graduation. Adams was a reliable target for Purdue's quarterbacks, and his presence will be missed. Nord and coach Danny Hope want to feature the tight end and hope Carter, a junior college transfer, provides an immediate boost. There's a little more uncertainty at receiver after the NCAA denied Keith Smith a sixth year of eligibility, so Purdue will be looking for tight ends to emerge if young receivers like Antavian Edison and O.J. Ross don't continue to make strides. Running back also could fit here if Ralph Bolden doesn't return to form following a torn ACL.
After winning four of its final six games, Purdue has high hopes for 2010. The Boilermakers return a lot of skill players on offense, and Miami transfer Robert Marve looks like the front-runner to take over at quarterback. The defense needs to fill all four starting spots in the secondary, but end Ryan Kerrigan and linebacker Jason Werner lead the front seven.
Strongest position: Wide receiver/tight end
- Key returnees: Keith Smith (91 receptions, 1,100 receiving yards, 6 TDs); Kyle Adams (29 receptions, 249 receiving yards); Keith Carlos (21 receptions, 242 receiving yards, 1 TD); running back Ralph Bolden (20 receptions, 261 receiving yards, 2 TDs); Cortez Smith (17 receptions, 177 receiving yards, 2 TDs); Jeff Lindsay (16 receptions 162 receiving yards).
- Key losses: Aaron Valentin (54 receptions, 621 receiving yards, 7 TDs).
- The skinny: A year ago, the Boilers had huge questions here as Smith was the lone returnee with any significant experience. Purdue now boasts one of the Big Ten's deepest group of pass-catchers, led by Smith, who topped the league in receiving yards last fall and earned first-team all-conference honors from the media. Purdue needs a new No. 2 wideout, but hopes are high for Cortez Smith and Carlos. The coaches are also high on young wideouts Antavian Edison and Gary Bush. The tight end position should be very solid with both Adams and Lindsay in the fold.
- Key returnees: Albert Evans (30 tackles, 2 pass breakups)
- Key losses: Torri Williams (84 tackles, 2 INTs, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries, 8 passes defended); Dwight Mclean (62 tackles, 1 INT, 1 forced fumble, 4 passes defended); David Pender (40 tackles, 1 INT, 14 passes defended, 1 blocked kick, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery); Brandon King (30 tackles, 3 INTs, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 5 passes defended).
- The skinny: Purdue loses all four starters in the secondary, including tackles leader Williams and second-team All-Big Ten selections in Pender and King. Evans is the lone returnee with significant experience, and he'll miss spring practice with an injury. Players like junior college transfer Mike Eargle, Charlton Williams, Gavin Roberts and Chris Quinn need to step up this spring. "We have a lot of depth issues in the secondary," head coach Danny Hope said.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Purdue's first set of spring practices under head coach Danny Hope is in the books, as the Boilermakers finished up Saturday with the Black & Gold game at Ross-Ade Stadium. The offense prevailed 36-29 in a game that featured a modified scoring system.
The spread offense is still very much alive in West Lafayette, but Purdue might not be as much of a pass-oriented team as it was under Joe Tiller. The ground game came along very nicely this spring, and an unlikely sophomore has put himself right in the mix for the starting running back position.
Sophomore Ralph Bolden capped a very impressive spring with 153 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries in the spring game. With Jaycen Taylor still rehabbing from a torn ACL and heralded freshman Al-Terek McBurse awaiting the go-ahead from the NCAA Clearinghouse, Bolden showed impressive skills and durability throughout the spring. He gained 406 rush yards in Purdue's three spring scrimmages.
Though his smallish frame (5-foot-9, 184 pounds) might raise red flags, Bolden should be a big part of Purdue's offensive plan this fall.
"He's probably the fastest kid on our offense," offensive coordinator Gary Nord told The (Lafayette) Journal and Courier. "He was clocked at 10.5 in the 100 meters in high school. We have to find ways to get him the ball."
Dan Dierking added 95 rush yards on 19 attempts as the offense racked up 299 yards on the ground. The passing game didn't exactly struggle, either, putting up 421 yards. Projected starter Joey Elliott had a nice day, completing 20 of 33 passes for 193 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Other notable items from Purdue's spring game:
- Don't expect the second coming of Dustin Keller this fall, but the tight end position will play a much bigger role at Purdue than it did in 2008. Even without projected starter Kyle Adams, who sustained a minor knee injury, three tight ends (Jeff Lindsay, Jeff Panfil and Crosby Wright) combined to catch 12 passes for 134 yards in the spring game.
- Keith Smith has established himself as Purdue's No. 1 wide receiver and registered game highs in both receptions (8) and receiving yards (99) in the spring game. Smith, who caught a touchdown pass from Elliott, enters the fall as a starter along with Aaron Valentin. Purdue needs another wideout to emerge this summer.
- Oft-injured linebacker Jason Werner recorded an interception in the spring game, a good sign for a Purdue defense that looks a bit thin at linebacker. The Boilers' defense recorded five takeaways in the game, including an interception by safety Logan Link and a fumble recovery by defensive tackle Kawann Short, who also had two pass breakups and a tackle for loss. End Gerald Gooden also stood out with a sack and a fumble recovery.
- Purdue's resurgent run game this spring can be attributed to an improved offensive line, which returns four starters and avoided the injuries that crippled it a year ago.
- Short and backup quarterback Caleb TerBush received Purdue's Newcomer Award for making the most progress in their first round of spring practices. Offensive guard Rick Schmeig and cornerback Charlton Williams received the Most Improved Award.
- Purdue also announced its captains for the 2009 season: Elliott, defensive tackle Mike Neal, Werner, safety Torri Williams and center Jared Zwilling.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
While Michigan held its annual spring game, other teams around the Big Ten conducted scrimmages this weekend.
Here are some highlights from around the league.
- The Illini held their third annual Chicago area scrimmage at Oak Park-River Forest High School, where former Illinois coach Robert Zuppke served before coming to Champaign.
- Illinois' offense scored three touchdowns on five drives, including a 27-yard scoring pass from Juice Williams to Jarred Fayson and a 4-yard run by Mikel LeShoure. LeShoure continued his stellar spring with 14 carries for 123 yards, while Fayson is closing in on a starting wideout spot.
- After struggling in Wednesday's practice, Williams completed 13 of 20 passes for 167 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.
- Defensive end Doug Pilcher and linebacker Russell Ellington each recorded two sacks. Linebacker Nate Bussey, a converted safety, tallied a team-high nine tackles.
- For more on the scrimmage, including linebacker Martez Wilson's first comments this spring, click here and here.
- The Hoosiers' ground game surged for the second consecutive scrimmage, racking up 169 yards on 30 carries (5.6 ypc), and the defense bounced back from a slow start to record three sacks, two interceptions and a fumble.
- Quarterback Ben Chappell completed his first eight pass attempts and hit Damarlo Belcher for a 22-yard touchdown. Chappell and the passing attack continued to progress, as 10 different receivers hauled in receptions.
- Trea Burgess is making a strong push for Indiana's top running back spot and racked up 69 rush yards and a touchdown on nine carries. Redshirt freshman running back Darius Willis, a heralded recruit, participated in his first scrimmage after battling a groin problem and had 20 rush yards.
- Cornerbacks Chris Adkins and Richard Council recorded interceptions, and linebacker Jamie Lukaszewski forced a fumble.
- For more on the scrimmage, click here (subscription required).
- The good news for projected starting quarterback Mike Kafka is he gets to work against one of the Big Ten's top defenses this spring. But that's the bad news, too. Kafka struggled in Saturday's 82-play scrimmage, failing to lead the first-team offense to the end zone on 11 drives. On the second play of the scrimmage, he threw an interception that cornerback Jordan Mabin returned for a touchdown.
- Northwestern's defense forced three turnovers, as Mabin and safety Brian Peters recorded interceptions and safety Jared Carpenter forced a fumble.
- Quarterback Dan Persa and the second-team offense fared better, scoring two touchdowns, including a 45-yard pass from Persa to Zeke Markshausen. Persa completed his first eight pass attempts and finished 10-for-14 for 104 yards and a touchdown.
- Keep an eye on sophomore running back Jeravin Matthews, who continued a strong spring with 113 rush yards, including a 49-yarder, on 15 carries for the second-team offense. Matthews, a converted wide receiver and one of only two true freshmen to play last season, might be the team's fastest player and will push Stephen Simmons for the starting job.
- For more on the scrimmage, click here.
BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
12:00 PM ET Northwestern Iowa 12:00 PM ET Maryland Penn State 12:00 PM ET Wisconsin Rutgers 3:30 PM ET Purdue 15 Nebraska 3:30 PM ET Indiana Michigan 8:00 PM ET Illinois 16 Ohio State