This year has been a weird year for this blog. I really have not written for it like I have in other years. I have still been going to the games and taking pictures, but I feel like the world does not need another Purdue opinion blog. There are more than enough of those out there now. One thing that I would like to continue though is my Thanksgiving Day tradition of writing a bit about the outgoing Purdue seniors who will be playing their last game at Ross Ade Stadium. This class seems to be one that has gone through a lot. You have players with multiple ACL injuries on the list. They will be playing Saturday on those knees, and that is a testament to the players if there ever was one. I thought that I would highlight a few of my favorites here, and talk a little bit about what kind of legacy they will leave on this blog.
Ralph Bolden stretching for yards his freshman season versus Toledo
Ralph Bolden running wild on Toledo during his freshman season
No player had more promise than Ralph during his freshman season. He really had a great year making us salivate as to what could be. Knee injuries have derailed that career, but Ralph is still out there giving it his all. His knee injury last November against the Hoosiers really seemed to be the end of his career. He battled back to contribute down the stretch for the Boilers.
Peters has held down his spot on the line since his freshman season. The only thing that has knocked him off of the line has been injuries. That seems to be a trend here with the Boilers in this class. When healthy he is a smart lineman that this team can really use. Being injured on the line though is not something that you can hide very well.
Antavian is a player that has been a steady force for the Boilers. In fact last week he saw his streak of games with a catch end after only being thrown to twice. He looked alright wearing the number 34 his freshman season, but it was the next season when he started to prove his worth to the team. He filled in all over the field as injuries dictated. He has been a fun player to watch develop, and I am glad that he was able to come back and play his senior season.
Antwon Higgs trying to rip the helmet off of Terrelle Pryor in a game against the Buckeyes in 2009
I was a fan of Higgs from day one as a Boiler. He has that high motor that you can see. Some players might hold it in, but from square one you can see the fire in Higgs. I always thought that he would have been a great defensive end, but we never got to see what he could do. He has started playing more this season, but he never did live up to the expectations that I set for him. Than again who am I to set expectations for players? He has had a very solid career for the Boilers.
Josh Johnson coming off the field earlier this season
Josh Johnson getting chased into the end zone by Ricardo Allen after a pick 6 earlier this season against Marshall
Josh has really turned into a great corner for Purdue. For the last three years you could count on Josh and Ricardo Allen to hold down a corner for the Boilers. I really think that we will miss him next year. He has shown the ability to step it up to make the big play. He is also a great student which is one of the things that coach Danny Hope emphasizes.
Robert is a player that I think people just expected more from for some reason. He played so good so early that sometimes you extrapolate that into something very great. Robert has been a very good addition to the team, and has played where he was asked to. This season has been a bit of a change for him, but he has responded very well.
Robert Marve scoring the winning touchdown against Ohio State in 2011
Robert Marve celebrating with the fans after the game against Ohio State in 2011
Perhaps no quarterback has come into Purdue with such lofty expectations. He was a very talented high school quarterback in Florida that went to Miami after breaking records set by Tim Tebow. I was very interested to see what he could do at Purdue, but once again injuries stepped in to play a role. We really never were able to see what a healthy Robert Marve could do. In fact he went deep into his senior season before he ever started a Big Ten game. Robert was a fan favorite who became a legend with his stunning comeback against Ohio State last season. He will get the chance Saturday to ensure that he gets to play one more game with a win.
Rick Schmeig opens up a hole for fellow senior Akeem Shavers
Has been a consistent starter for Purdue over his career. I will of course remember him from the picture above where it appears as if he is dancing with a player instead of blocking. What the next frame shows thought is the end of the pancake block that was given.
Shavers was a JUCO running back that came to Purdue to get a job done and run the ball. Who knew that we would need him so much with Ralph getting injured? He has done very well for the Boilers, and has given us some great memories including the bowl game last year. This year he has been the back in the backfield, and has done all that he can.
Kawann Short gets a very athletic interception his freshman season against Toledo
Kawann Short with one of two blocks against Eastern Kentucky earlier this season
Kawann Short taking the time to talk to a fan after the 2011 upset of Ohio State
However you say his name Short has been a great player since day one here at Purdue. I first really noticed him when he made an acrobatic interception against Toledo during his freshman year. For a big kid he was very agile. That pick is shown in the first picture above. He is also has a great knack for getting his hand on kicks. In the second picture above he is shown blocking one of two kicks in a game early this season. He has a great technique, and the athletic ability to get it done. All of that aside Short has been a great member of the defensive line that has kept the tradition of the line going. He really has been fun to watch, and I look forward to watching him in the NFL next season.
Caleb TerBush lets a pass go early in the 2012 season
Here is a player that never really had a chance. For some reason the fans have never liked him, and they let him know it in various ways throughout the season. To send a college kid death threats online is a cowardly act. I don’t care what the player has done on the field that is going too far. Caleb really has not done a horrible job this year, but I think the play calls may have been his undoing. It is hard to be successful when the system is inhibiting you. I hope that he can have a good senior day without any of the classless boing that the fans gave Curtis Painter. It is senior day people. Show just a little class.
Tommie may have been able to help this team, but of course injuries got in the way of that. Like I said before that is a common refrain with this class. This may have been one of the most snakebit classes I can think of. I may remember Tommie more for his off field exploits. Back when I followed the players on Twitter I always enjoyed his back and forth with the Silver Twins.
Crosby is a tight end that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle here at Purdue. When they have thrown to him he can give them good results. I think that they just need to try a little more. Over the last few weeks we may have rediscovered the tight end so we will see. He has been a solid blocker though when he doesn’t have the ball, and he was inserted into the lineup to help with the wide receiver screens earlier in the season.
This is by no means a comprehensive list as with past years. Other sites who have copied this format will tell you about all of the players. I just like to kind of close the book on the seniors with this Thanksgiving post, and it also helps me get some pictures up that would normally not be seen.
This is a big weekend for the football team. A lot more than the outcome of this game may be determined on the field. I have heard many say that they will stay away to voice their displeasure. In my mind that is not very fair to this senior class. These are great kids who deserve to be sent off the right way. So make your way to Ross Ade this weekend. Good seats still available.