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Purdue, IU show football recruiting clout

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Follow Pete DiPrimio via Twitter at www.twitter.com/pdiprimio

Both schools beat out powerhouse programs

Saturday, June 22, 2013 - 12:28 am

Are Purdue and Indiana really positioned to beat out powerhouse football programs for elite recruits?

At least for one day, the answer is yes.

Purdue got the best of Oklahoma, Ohio State and Florida for the VERY large Denzel Ward, a 6-9, 315-pound offensive tackle from Chicago.

IU lured Florida offensive tackle Delroy Baker, who is 6-6 and 275 pounds, away from in-state school Florida, plus Florida State, Miami, Missouri, Iowa State and more.

How big are these Class of 2014 commitments (both came on Friday)?

The final determination is years away, when Ward and Baker get a chance to prove themselves on the field. For now it's all about perception.

The Boilers are moving fast behind new coach Darrell Hazell, who is trying to restore the program to the success it had under former coach Joe Tiller.

The Hoosiers are set to make a move in coach Kevin Wilson's third season. With new facilities and lots of returning talent, the stage seems set for a return to bowl relevance.

Beating out the Toledos of the world is one thing. Getting the best of traditional powerhouses indicates that both programs are making progress.

Ward visited Purdue last spring, then attended the Boilers' elite camp last weekend. That clinched the deal for Ward, who became Purdue's sixth commitment for 2014. He had earlier committed to Michigan before backing out.

The Boilers had an edge with incoming freshman running back Robert Gregory, who is Ward's cousin.

Purdue's other commitments are Texas quarterback David Blough, Texas receiver Trae Hart, Georgia receiver Gregory Phillips and Mishawaka lineman Kirk Barron.

Blough and Ward are three-star prospects. Blough is rated as Texas's No. 100 player by Rivals.com, a national Internet recruiting service.

For Indiana, landing Baker showed the Hoosiers have significant recruiting clout in Florida. He made an unofficial visit to Bloomington last week. He is IU's sixth commitment and third this week.

The others are Ohio defensive tackle Michael Barwick, Los Angeles quarterback Alexander Diamont, Iowa junior college offensive lineman DeAndre Herron (he went to high school in Avon), Ohio offensive lineman Wes Martin and Georgia defensive end Willie Yarbary.

Yarbary is athletic enough to also play tight end.

Both Purdue and IU have offered Carroll safety Drue Tranquill, who was at camps at Notre Dame and Michigan this week. Rivals.com rates him as the state of Indiana's No. 9 player.