Big Ten: Sterling Carter

This possibility was mentioned in one of the lunchtime links, and now it is official: Purdue's Patrick Bade is leaving the Boilermakers' basketball team to try and make it on the school's football team as a tight end.

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.

Purdue spring wrap

May, 4, 2011

2010 overall record: 4-8

2010 conference record: 2-6 (T-9th)

Returning starters

Offense: 8; defense: 9; kicker/punter: 2

Top returners

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

Key losses

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)

Spring answers

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.

Fall questions

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.
Purdue entered the offseason with significant depth concerns at two positions: defensive end and tight end.

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.

Opening spring ball: Purdue

March, 2, 2011
Spring football has arrived in the Big Ten!

Purdue hits the practice field later today for the first of 15 spring workouts. I'll post a spring snapshot for each Big Ten squad as they open practice, so let's get started with the Boilermakers.

The big story: The Boilers are taking nothing for granted. After a season in which so many key players went down with injuries, Purdue is moving forward with the pieces it has. Rob Henry enters spring ball as the No. 1 quarterback as Robert Marve continues to recover from ACL surgery. The Boilers hope running back Ralph Bolden returns to form following his own ACL surgery, but they like their other options in the backfield as well. All-Big Ten receiver Keith Smith won't be back, so Purdue will move forward with Justin Siller, Antavian Edison and others.

Position in the spotlight: Quarterback. Offensive coordinator Gary Nord really likes what Henry brings to the offense, and the rising sophomore will have a chance to establish himself as the starter this spring. Caleb TerBush also will be a factor after being academically ineligible for the 2010 season. TerBush continued to practice with the team and should challenge Henry and Marve when Marve returns.

Coaching changes: Gary Emanuel is now the team's only defensive coordinator after sharing the title with Donn Landholm last season. Emanuel will continue to coach the defensive line, while Landholm will work with the outside linebackers. Danny Hope also hired two new assistants: wide receivers coach Patrick Higgins and linebackers coach Phil Elmassian, who returns to Purdue after working with the Boilers defensive backs in 2003.

Keep an eye on: Tight end Sterling Carter and running back Akeem Shavers. Both junior college transfers should make an immediate impact for Purdue. The Boilers lose top tight ends Kyle Adams and Jeff Lindsay, so Carter will make a strong push for the starting job. Hope wants to stress the run game and Shavers provides depth in the backfield alongside Bolden and rising sophomore Reggie Pegram.

Spring game: April 9
Purdue has finalized its 2011 recruiting class, which includes 12 players who signed Wednesday to go along with three early enrollees and a holdover walk-on from 2010.

Danny Hope's second class hails from nine different states, with three players from Florida and three from Pennsylvania. It includes seven offensive players, seven defensive players, one player classified solely as an athlete, and a long snapper.

Here's the position breakdown:

RB: 3
DL: 2
LB: 3 (one classified as LB/S)
TE: 2
WR: 2
DB: 2
Athlete: 1
LS: 1

A few notes:
  • Tight end Sterling Carter, linebacker/safety Jalani Phillips and running back Akeem Shavers all signed in December and are enrolled in school. Long snapper Jesse Schmitt, who joined the Boilermakers as a walk-on in time for the 2010 season, also received a scholarship prior to the start of the spring semester.
  • Hope has signed 24 players from Florida in his first three recruiting classes.