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Purdue Football Recruiting: Boilermakers Trying To Upgrade Talent Level

Purdue is bringing its best recruiting class in several years.

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Fresh off a win in the Little Caesar's Bowl over Western Michigan, the Purdue Boilermakers turn their attention to recruiting. And luckily for SB Nation readers, Riley Schmitt of the excellent Purdue blog Hammer and Rails joins us to provide some perspective on the Boilermakers' class. This happens to be a very good class by Purdue standards, with 24 commitments:

The 2012 recruiting class for the Purdue Boilermakers looks to be the strongest one the team has had in over a half decade. The class is a deep one, with 24 players currently verbaled to the program. Head coach Danny Hope has gone out and recruited numerous "athletes" in hopes of achieving flexibility at numerous positions.

This is an interesting approach. By focusing on athleticism, Hope is gambling that he can find a position for these players once they get on campus. There's a certain requisite amount of athleticism required to be competitive in BCS football. Without it, coaching really doesn't matter all that much. In that way, Hope's approach makes sense.

And Hope can certainly find a position for these players. The question is whether he can find that position soon enough in their careers to give them time to develop at those positions. The plan won't work if a player bounces around for two years before settling in.

Schmitt details a few important pieces for Purdue's class:

There are a few players that standout in this incoming class. B.J. Knauf, an athlete from Florida, looks like the best bet to see immediate playing time. Knauf looks to be used all over the field in order to maximize the touches. Quarterback Austin Appleby (Ohio) could be the sleeper quarterback in 2012. Appleby suffered a knee injury his junior year, which has lowered him in some rankings. However, Appleby had a strong summer leading into his senior year and was named one of ESPN’s Elite 11 QBs.

An injury is likely one of the only ways in which Purdue could land a quarterback with the potential of Appleby. Appleby does have a long motion and there's a serious question as to Purdue's ability to ever protect him.

What else is Purdue looking for in this class?

It would be nice to see the Boilers add some offensive line help, but otherwise this class is extremely strong. It won’t be ranked high nationally, but this class is a step up from previous years. Instead of a mixture of two and three stars, this class is mainly all three stars from powerhouses like Florida and Texas. Wideout Cameron Posey is the only commit has been seen to be waffling in his decision, but I expect the rest of the players committed to sign. It’s been a slow rebuilding process, but I expect this class to help push Purdue back in contention for some prominent Big 10 bowls.

An improved talent level is one of the major things Purdue needs to get out of the Big Ten cellar.

Thanks to Schmitt for joining us, and for more on Purdue recruiting, please visit Hammer and Rails.