A Purdue football commit has been one of the most productive high school wide receivers in the country the past two years.
Trae Hart, a 5-11, 154-pound receiver from Dallas, Texas, caught 108 passes for 2,044 yards and 29 touchdowns last season as a junior.
His senior campaign is off to a strong start with 19 receptions for 445 yards and seven touchdowns through four games this season.
“I would say my biggest strength is my speed and quickness,” Hart said. “I am a good route runner and able to get open and make plays.”
Hart transferred from North Mesquite, a 5A public school, to First Baptist Academy, a small private school with around 400 students, his junior year.
The school change brought him from a run-based offense to a spread attack that passes the ball around 30 times a game.
“We throw it around, so it definitely helps him with the numbers,” First Baptist Academy head coach Jason Lovvorn said. “In any type of offense, Trae will be able to produce.”
Lovvorn called Hart the most polished receiver he has ever coached.
“He has incredible speed, but to go along with that, he is a great route runner with great hands,” Lovvorn said. “He understands the game and knows how to get himself open.”
Hart will join a young and talented Boilermaker wide receiving core in 2014. Five of Purdue’s top eight leaders in receptions are freshmen this season.
In order to contribute early, Hart will likely have to add some weight to his 154-pound frame. He said he’d like to get to 175-180 pounds by the time he gets to Purdue.
“I need to improve on my strength,” Hart said. “I want to get bigger and stronger to help me make a bigger impact next year.”
While a major threat on offense, Hart could play just as big of a role for Purdue on special teams.
Raheem Mostert and Akeem Hunt, Purdue’s primary kick returners the last three seasons, will be seniors in 2014 when Hart is a freshman.
Hart has scored five special teams touchdowns this season after scoring four in 2012.
“Special teams is a big part of every game, and I feel I can make a lot of plays on punt returns and kick returns,” Hart said.
Hart committed to Purdue on May 2, jumping on his first scholarship offer without taking a visit to West Lafayette or having much communication with the coaches.
Five months later, Hart said his commitment to Purdue is strong and he will not look at any other schools who might offer.
“I’m ready to get to Purdue,” Hart said. “I’m excited about helping turn the program around.”
Hart visited campus for Purdue’s game against Notre Dame on Sept. 21 and watched the Boilermakers play against Cincinnati and Northern Illinois on TV.
“I think (offensive coordinator John Shoop) has a good plan and just needs the players to execute and we will do great,” Hart said. “It’s a new coaching staff and they are going to turn things around.”