REGGIE HAYES: Who sits where in Purdue football’s Crowded House of Quarterbacks?
Purdue University has long boasted the nickname “Cradle of Quarterbacks.” This season, it’s the “Crowded House of Quarterbacks.”
Seven quarterbacks are on the Boilermakers’ roster for 2018, led by two legitimate starters in Elijah Sindelar and David Blough. Coach Jeff Brohm has said he’ll let the competition play out between those two, as both return from injuries.
Is this too much of a good thing? Hardly. The quarterback position is the most fun position for fans to discuss and debate. At least it can be fun, if you have good ones on your roster.
Who are the gunslingers? A quick look at Purdue’s Crowded House of Quarterbacks and their respective assigned rooms.
DINING ROOM (Ready to eat)
Elijah Sindelar, 6-4 junior
Let’s start where he finished. Sindelar was terrific in Purdue’s win over Arizona in the Foster Farms Bowl, completing 33 of 53 passes for 396 yards and tying a Boilermakers bowl record with four touchdowns. This should be his job to lose, right? There’s this complication: Sindelar played the last 3½ games last year with a torn ACL in his left knee. What’s his health to start his season? That’s a big question. Then again, he threw for 396 yards in a bowl game with a torn ACL. He has a big arm and, obviously, a big-time inner drive.
David Blough, 6-1 senior
Blough, who started five games last season, suffered a season-ending right ankle dislocation in early November. When healthy, he’s solid. He’s not a superstar quarterback but he’s efficient: He completed 102 of 157 passes (65 percent) for 1,103 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions in 2017. Two years ago, he threw for 3,352 yards and led the Big Ten in passing yards per game (279.3), so he enters this season determined to reclaim his starting spot. Like Sindelar, Blough seems to have that extra level of mental toughness.
STUDY (Preparing just in case)
Aaron Banks, 6-4, senior
Banks, a walk-on from Indianapolis Brebeuf, is the only quarterback on the roster who can walk into a room and claim to have completed every Purdue pass he’s thrown. Banks was 1-for-1 for four yards against Indiana in 2015. He’s also the only one who can walk into a room and say he’s Purdue student body president. Needless to say, he’s a sharp young man.
Jack Plummer, 6-5, freshman
This Gilbert, Ariz., product was named the No. 30 prep quarterback in the country by ESPN.com. He threw for 2,822 yards and 35 touchdowns (seven interceptions) in 10 games as a prep senior last fall, completing 58.8 percent of his passes. Presumably, he’ll be learning and growing as he sees no action as an official or unofficial redshirt. But he is on the radar for a big-time opportunity down the road.
Nick Sipe, 6-4, redshirt freshman
The Villa Park, Calif., player has a familiar last name. He’s the nephew of former NFL quarterback Brian Sipe. Nick Sipe threw for 5,746 yards, 60 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in his last two years in high school.
MAN CAVE (Watching film, adding camaraderie)
Danny Carollo, 6-0, sophomore
Aidan O’Connell, 6-3, redshirt freshman
Cameron Northern, 6-3, redshirt freshman
All three are walk-ons. Carollo was Academic All-Big Ten last year. They add value as scout team quarterbacks and other ways behind the scenes, which fans won’t see but teammates appreciate and respect.
This column is the commentary of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of The News-Sentinel. Email Reggie Hayes at firstname.lastname@example.org.