9/25/22 Indiana State, Devin Mockobee

Redshirt freshman running back Devin Mockobee takes the field ahead of Purdue’s game against Indiana State on Sept. 10. In the game, which Purdue won 56-0, Mockobee earned his first collegiate touchdown.

Devin Mockobee was in Florida the summer of his senior year of high school when he got a call that changed his life.

The 6 foot, 195 pound redshirt freshman running back was originally committed to play football for the U.S. Naval Academy before he got an offer from Chris Barclay, the Boilermakers’ running back coach.

While he was excited to continue his football career at Navy, Mockobee said Purdue was always his dream school.

“I was actually on the beach at the time that (Barclay) called me and we had the conversation,” Mockobee said. “My mom was sitting there, (my whole family) was freaking out and I (was) just ecstatic.”

Barclay said it didn’t take long to convince Mockobee to commit.

“I (said), ‘Would you be interested in coming to Purdue and maybe playing in the Big Ten?’ (Mockobee) said, ‘Absolutely coach, that’s my dream school.’ He was fired up ... I’m so excited he made the choice to come here.”

Mockobee attended Boonville High School, running 1,820 yards in his high school career and earning 27 total touchdowns as a senior. During that year, Mockobee was also a state champion in the long jump field event.

Mockobee has continued his success at Purdue, having already accumulated 137 rushing yards and two touchdowns so far this year.

“We kind of saw it early. We saw it in the spring, just the way he moves on the field is different,” Barclay said. “The way he’s able to move, twist and contort his body to get into some of these holes that not everyone is able to get into, he’s got really good vision and he has excellent velocity through the line. He’s just a natural ball carrier.”

What Mockobee has been able to accomplish on the field doesn’t seem out of the ordinary to junior running back Dylan Downing.

“I see (his abilities) every day in practice, so not (I’m) not surprised,” Downing said. “I’m just glad that he gets to put it on display for the whole country.”

Mockobee picked up his first collegiate touchdown in Purdue’s 56-0 victory over Indiana State in early September.

“That was a dream come true right there,” Mockobee said. “Being a little kid, thinking ‘I want to be out there one day scoring my first touchdown,’ and now I’ve done it, so I got to keep making goals from here.”

While Mockobee has impressed early on, there are still some things in his game that could be improved.

“His biggest thing right now is just continuing to add strength, because I think that’ll help him in the yards-after-contact department,” Barclay said.

“I feel like I am definitely a skittish back type, but I definitely do like to run downhill a lot harder,” Mockobee said. “That’s why I continue to try and put on more weight so I can have the best of both worlds.”

It was a long road getting to this point for Mockobee, who grew up in Boonville, Indiana — a small town in southern Indiana outside of Evansville. Mockobee wasn’t highly recruited out of high school despite his numbers, and initially joined the team as a walk-on.

“Southern Indiana is typically an under-recruited area in my opinion,” Mockobee said. “Just from what I’ve seen from my area and kids ... that we have down there. I think there’s a lot of hidden gems that you can find down there.”

One of Mockobee’s fellow Boilers, freshman quarterback Brady Allen, went to a neighboring high school. The pair competed against each other in a game between their schools.

Mockobee ended up losing 43-35 to Allen and his alma mater, Gibson Southern, but Mockobee put on a show that caught Barclay’s attention, running for 415 yards and earned five touchdowns.

“That’s hard to do in a video game, on rookie,” Barclay said. “That’s difficult. So for you to be able to do that, that speaks to your savvy, the way you see the game, how you’re able to move on the field. There’s not many people that can move like that.”

There were several reasons for Mockobee to choose Navy, such as its signature triple option style offense, but he still liked Purdue more. Mockobee stated that it was a much more spread out offense, a style of offense he was familiar with and one more similar to what he ran in high school.

While getting to this point is something Mockobee always thought he could accomplish, he understands the weight of this commitment and knows the job is far from finished.

“I always knew I’d have to earn it from the beginning, so first just getting here I knew I’d have to stay on the grindstone. That still continues to this day,” Mockobee said. “I still need to get better and do what I have to do. It’s been a long way and I have come so far but I still have a long way I can go. So it still continues from here.”

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