The Purdue football team’s 2014 recruiting class consists of 19 verbal commitments and the Boilermakers are hoping to add one more on National Signing Day on Wednesday afternoon.
According to 247Sports’ rankings, Purdue’s class is ranked last of the 14 Big Ten teams and No. 70 in the country. The rankings are subject to change based on Wednesday's actual signings.
The Boilermakers have their sights set on Poona Ford, a four-star defensive tackle from South Carolina. Ford has offers from Texas and Missouri among others, but Scout.com’s Chris Emma believes Ford may become a Boilermaker Wednesday.
”There won’t be any surprises (on Wednesday); it all comes down to Poona Ford,” Emma said. “I think Purdue has a good chance to get him. A four-star defensive tackle would be the prize of the class.”
Both Emma and 247Sports’ Eric Gardner praised head coach Darrell Hazell’s 2014 class for filling out its most important needs on the team - offensive linemen, defensive backs and linebackers.
”While some of the higher profile recruits ended up going elsewhere, the talent that is committed and coming in for 2014 is much needed,” Gardner said. “It’s a class that adds depth at positions of need and will provide a stable base for the direction that Hazell wants to go.”
One of the key focuses for Hazell was the offensive line and Purdue landed two recruits in the last week, Miguel Machado and Corey Clements. They join previous commits Martesse Patterson, Bearooz Yacoobi, and Kirk Barron.
Machado, a junior college transfer from Pasadena City College, has the ability to start from Day 1, according to Emma.
”(Landing Machado) was absolutely huge, especially after losing Denzel Ward,” Emma said. “When (Purdue) entered the month of January, they weren’t sure any of those guys were (going) to come through ... and you get three guys. That was essential.”
Both Emma and Gardner agreed Brandon Roberts, a cornerback from Georgia, is the most underrated player in this year’s recruiting class.
”I’m going with cornerback Brandon Roberts,” Gardner said. “He’s going to be overlooked because of the amount of defensive backs Purdue will have on their roster next year, but in terms of a solid four-year career, Roberts should be impactful as a hard-hitting corner.”
Emma said Roberts’ mentality reminds him a little of Seattle Seahawk cornerback Richard Sherman and believes he can make an instant impact.
”I’m surprised (Roberts) didn’t get as many looks, especially in the talent-rich southeast,” Emma said. “I love the kid’s mindset; you could say he has a little bit of Richard Sherman in him. I talked to him last night and he straight up said, ‘I’m going to be on the field day one and I’m going to be a shutdown corner.’ I love that he has that mentality and has the game to match it.”
National Signing Day will be televised on ESPNU, starting at 8 a.m. and continuing for 11 hours.