So maybe Purdue's Patrick Bade is a football player after all.
The junior-to-be will try to prove it after giving up a basketball scholarship to walk on with the Boilers football team. He will have at least two seasons of football eligibility.
The move is effective immediately.
“This is the start of a new chapter for me,” Bade said Wednesday in a university release, “and I look forward to the challenges that come with playing college football. I'm excited for the opportunities that lie ahead.”
The move addresses three issues. First, Purdue needs a tight end. Gabe Holmes is the only returning tight end with experience. He played in all 12 games, including two starts, as a freshman last season and totaled one catch for 14 yards.
The Boilers also brought in two tight ends. Sterling Carter is a junior college transfer from Los Angeles Harbor College. He signed in December and participated in spring practice. They also signed Carlos Carvajal from Florida. He's rated the nation's No. 28 tight end prospect by ESPN.com.
The 6-8, 231-pound Bade was a promising tight end at Indianapolis' Franklin Central High School. Purdue was among the Big Ten football programs looking at him, but that ended when he committed to basketball. He didn't play football as a senior.
“I've seen his junior film and he looks like a pretty good prospect for us,” football coach Danny Hope said in the release. “He's a big-body guy who plays a position where we have quite a bit of youth and not a lot of experience, so he'll be able to compete right away. We're happy to have him aboard.”
Second, Bade's basketball prospects were limited. He played less as a sophomore than he did as a freshman. He began last year as a starter because of Robbie Hummel's season-ending knee injury and a strong offseason, but that didn't last long because of a lack of production.
He played 58 college games in two seasons with four starts, averaging 1.2 points and 1.6 rebounds.
“We wish Patrick nothing but the best as he pursues a college football career at Purdue,” coach Matt Painter said.
“He is a valued member of the Purdue athletics family, and we're happy that he has chosen to remain at the university.”
Purdue returns inside players Hummel (15.7 points, 6.9 rebounds two years ago), sophomores Travis Carroll (1.3 points, 1.9 rebounds) and Sandi Marcius (1.0 points, 1.6 rebounds), and swingman D.J. Byrd (5.2 points, 3.0 rebounds).
The Boilers also are bringing in two inside players – forwards Donnie Hale and Jacob Lawson. The 6-8 Hale is a former Indiana All-Star from New Albany who attended prep school last season. The 6-8 Lawson is rated a top-30 power forward by ESPN and Scout.com.
Finally, the move frees up a basketball scholarship for Purdue, important considering Painter, like a lot of college coaches, has more commitments than available scholarships. He has four commitments for the Class of 2012 and four more for the Class of 2013.
One of those commitments from the Class of 2012 – 6-8, 240-pound forward Jay Simpson from Illinois – will reportedly transfer to play at La Lumiere Prep Academy in LaPorte. The four-star prospect will be a teammate of Indiana Class of 2012 commitment Hanner Perea.
Simpson averaged 12.3 points and 6.9 rebounds last season for Champaign Central.
Also in that Purdue Class of 2012 is four-star guard Rapheal Davis from South Side. The Class of 2013 includes Northrop guard Bryson Scott.
Purdue is still recruiting Class of 2012 standout Gary Harris of Hamilton Southeastern, as are Indiana, Michigan State, Ohio State and Louisville.