11/30/19 Indiana, Brycen Hopkins

Fifth-year tight end Brycen Hopkins escapes an Indiana defender to score Purdue’s only touchdown of the first half of Saturday’s game.

After a season of hard knocks and rising talent, a pair of Purdue football players have been honored as Big Ten players of the year.

Freshman wideout David Bell received the Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year Award, and fifth-year tight end Brycen Hopkins received the Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year honor from the Big Ten Wednesday night.

In addition, Bell was selected to the All-Big Ten Third Team by Big Ten coaches and second team by media. Hopkins was selected to the first team by both metrics and freshman defensive lineman George Karlaftis was selected to the second team by the media.

A selection of other Purdue players were awarded honorable mentions in the coaches’ and media’s team selections, including junior kicker J.D. Dellinger, senior offensive lineman Matt McCann and fifth-year linebacker Ben Holt.

This marks the second year in a row that Purdue has claimed the Freshman of the Year Award, after sophomore wideout Rondale Moore claimed the honor for the 2018 season.

Bell made his mark in Purdue’s receiving corps after Moore left Purdue’s game against Minnesota with an injury. The freshman tallied 1,037 yards and seven touchdowns on 86 targets throughout the season, and scored five of Purdue’s 19 consecutive freshman touchdowns.

In the regular season, Bell was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week four times, earning half of Purdue’s player of the week awards.

Hopkins also broke out this season, going for 830 yards and another seven touchdowns on 61 targets. He is projected to be an early tight end pick in this year’s NFL draft, going as high as first among tight ends, according to CBS Sports’ projected draft order.

There was some Twitter controversy surrounding Hopkins’ honor, as some fans felt Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth had been snubbed.

Next season promises more incoming talent for the Boilermakers, as four-star tight end recruit Maliq Carr and running back Tirek Murphy are set to enter head coach Jeff Brohm’s offensive scheme.

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