Will it be enough to pass veteran Rob Henry on the depth chart? Does Hazell really want, in his debut season, to have a true freshman running his offense?
It's way too early to answer those questions, but here's what we know with Wednesday's signing day looming.
Etling is, by far, Purdue's highest-rated recruit in the Class of 2013. Rivals.com, a national Internet recruiting service, rates him as the state's No. 4 player, the nation's No. 9 pro-style quarterback and the nation's No. 167 overall player.
MaxSports.com's Tom Leming, one of the nation's most respected recruiting
analysts, rates Etling as his No. 20 pro-style quarterback. Etling was one of 25 high school quarterbacks across the nation invited to participate in the prestigious Elite 11 event.
As a senior at Terre Haute South last season the 6-3, 200-pound Etling threw for 1,505 yards and 11 touchdowns while battling a sprained ankle. He demonstrated toughness and leadership. His passion for the Boiler program runs deep. A cousin, Joe Holland, was a starting linebacker for Purdue from 2008 to 2011.
“His physical tools are outstanding,” South coach Mark Raetz said. “He's a big, strong kid. He can make all the throws you want. On top of that, he's a high-character kid. You never have any issues with him. He's close to a 4.0 student. He's an Eagle Scout. You know he'll do the right things and put the team first in whatever he does.”
Etling was one of the first recruits to meet with Hazell, who emphasized to the quarterback about changing the culture of the program back to what it was when the Boilers were Big Ten contenders under Joe Tiller a decade ago.
Etling is one of three players to have already enrolled at Purdue. The others are athlete/defensive end John Strauser and athlete/running back David Yancey.
The 6-3, 245-pound Strauser, who might end up playing linebacker, totaled 288 tackles in his last two seasons for St. Thomas More High School in Champaign, Ill. He's a three-star prospect who is rated as Illinois' No. 35 player by Rivals.com. Football is part of the family given that an uncle, Paul Chryst, is the head coach at Pitt.
The 5-11, 205-pound Yancey is a three-star player from Lake Central High School in northwestern Indiana. He rushed for 1,345 yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior, and 1,168 yards and 17 TDs in an injury-shortened senior season.
Etling is Purdue's only four-star recruit. The only other nationally ranked player is cornerback Leroy Clark out of Florida. He's rated No. 64 nationally.
Hazell got a late commitment Monday when Louisville running back Dalyn Dawkins picked Purdue. The Trinity High School standout totaled more than 2,000 yards rushing and receiving last season along with 21 touchdowns. The 5-9, 175-pounder is rated as the No. 9 overall player in Kentucky by Rivals.com. He picked Purdue over Colorado State and Western Kentucky.
One of the more intriguing commits is Florida running back Keith Byars III, the son of former Ohio State standout and ex-NFL player Keith Byars. He spent last season at New York's Milford Academy.
The transition from former coach Danny Hope to Hazell cost Purdue some recruits, including defensive linemen Kyle Shortridge (he went to Louisville), Parker Cothren (Penn State) and Randy Gregory (Nebraska). However, the Boilers picked up defensive end Evan Panfil, who had originally committed to Illinois, receiver Dan Monteroso from Boston College and receiver DeAngelo Yancey from Kentucky.
Panfil addresses a need at defensive end along with another late recruit, Antoine Miles, Jake Replogle and Strauser.
Panfil also has a strong Purdue connection given his grandfather (Ken Panfil) and an uncle (Vince Panfil) played for the Boilers. He was set to go to Illinois until defensive line coach Keith Gilmore took a job with North Carolina.
The Boilers have 22 known committed players. Of those, 12 are on defense. There are four running backs with Byars, Dawkins, Keyante Green and David Yancey. Only two recruits are from the state of Indiana — Etling and David Yancey. That reflects Hope's strong speed emphasis that saw him go after players from SEC states such as Georgia and Florida.
Hazell has said he'll make a stronger emphasis on recruiting in-state players.
The class is rated No. 59 nationally by Rivals.com and No. 11 in the Big Ten, ahead of only Minnesota. Ohio State has the Big Ten's best class, at No. 4. Michigan is next at No. 6. Nebraska is third at No. 14.
Hazell can't comment on the recruits until they officially sign.Matt Burke, TE
Keith Byars III RB
Leroy Clark DB
Johnny Daniels DT
Dalyn Dawkins RB
Danny Etling QB
Danny Ezechukwu LB
Keyante Green RB
Razahn Howard DT
Garrett Hudson LB
Austin Logan DB
Antoine Miles DE
Dan Monteroso WR
Myles Norwood WR
Evan Panfil DE
Dezwan Polk LB
Jake Replogle DE
Johnny Thompson LB
Jason Tretter OL
David Yancey ATH/RB
Deangelo Yancey WR