This weekend we say goodbye to some Boilermaker players who have given us lots of thrills in their careers. Last season some Boiler fans decided to try and ruin Senior Day by actually booing kids during their introduction. I hope those fair weather fans decide to stay at home Saturday. We do not need those kind of people in our fold. I don’t care what a player has done on the field, you do not need to boo them when they are taking the field with their family. You must have been some kind of great athletes in college to be able to do that. Sometimes things don’t work out the way that they would have liked them too. That does not mean that you have to ruin their moment of recognition. These seniors have done some things that have not been done in decades at Purdue. They deserve your praise. I decided to highlight a few of the seniors that I have especially enjoyed watching play over the years.
#2 Torri Williams – Did Torri get here before Tiller? I seems as if Williams has been here forever. He played on the 2004 team before basically losing the next three seasons due to injury. He finally has been healthy, and he provides much needed versatility in the secondary. He may have had some problems off the field, but he really has helped this turnaround this season by playing a solid corner/safety.
#7 Brandon King – King really solidified his place in Boiler history with his two picks during the upset of #7 Ohio State. His second pick was really a thing of beauty. The picture above shows him signing autographs before getting interviewed by the Big Ten Network. He really seemed to be enjoying his moment. Good for him. He also made that great break up on the option in Michigan and pounced on the ball to set up our first touchdown of the second half.
#9 David Pender – We loved him when he was #35 too. David is a good cover corner that can take on the #1 receiver. You can leave him alone knowing that he will get the job done. I have shown a picture from his great day against Golden Tate in 2007, but most will remember his deflection to seal the deal against Ohio State. By knocking the ball down instead of picking that ball he gave us much better field position.
#10 Royce Adams – Royce is a cornerback…no receiver…wait cornerback…well he can play both sides of the ball. The picture above is of his first pick at Northwestern in 2006. You need this type of player that puts team above self to succeed. He lost a good portion of this season due to injury. Before that he was doing whatever it took to help the team win.
#13 Chris Summers – Chris has seen both sides of success. In 2006 he came in to win the game against Michigan State, and was the hero. He also put the kick through to win the game with no time left on the clock to win the 2007 Motor City Bowl. From there though it was downhill. He lost his kicking job to Carson Wiggs last year, and almost lost his punting job this year. As a true sign of where the kicker stands the only picture I could find of him was a crowd shot after Purdue won in Illinois in 2006. These were the happier times for Chris.
#14 Joey Elliot – Joey finally got his chance to shine last season when Curtis Painter was hurt when he was hurt himself. He came into this season as the quarterback. A senior quarterback with a new head coach had me thinking about the magic that was Billy Dicken. During the five game slide people were calling for his head. He has really shown them what he can do in the last couple of weeks. He has done things for Purdue that some of the great quarterbacks could not do. I have enjoyed watching him grow this season. Maybe he has three games left to show us his magic. During the Illinois game we kept calling him Juice because of the way he uses his legs. He is not fast, but smart when running the ball. And will forget the E.T. shirts with Elliot on them?
#17 Aaron Valentin – Much like Elliot, Valentin has seen his share of boos this season. After a rough stretch he has turned things around. He is a real playmaker with the ball. The picture above is of his first touchdown against Ohio State. He has also made some big plays on the receiver screen this season. With a couple good games he can make us forget all about that Northwestern game.
#24 Jason Werner – Jason has been hurt the majority of his career at Purdue. That may translate into a 6th year next season. For now though he gets a senior day at Purdue. Jason has a nose for the ball, and can be effective when healthy.
#33 Jaycen Taylor – What can you say about this guy? He is what a teammate should be. In 2007 he broke his arm early on, but came back as quickly as he could to finish the season with the team. He will do anything you ask of him to help his team win. The picture above shows him scoring a touchdown in his return against Northwestern that season. Notice the large arm cast he is wearing. He is not a large man in size, but his heart carries him. His presence will be missed next season.
#44 Frank Halliburton – Frank endeared himself to my brother and I with his antics on the field. We first started watching him do his dance to shout before the fourth quarter. We have quickly realized that he will dance to almost anything. He is one of the first things we look for during a timeout. Notice the flair with which he blocks on a field goal attempt. He enjoyed his time with the Boilers I would guess. Frank the tank is another favorite that will be missed.
#92 Mike Neal – Mike has held the middle down for the Boilers very well for the last couple of seasons. Through my camera lens this season I have seen him make some great plays. He really disrupts the other teams offense. He draws enough attention that he makes everyone else around him better. It will be interesting to see what Ryan Kerrigan does when Neal is gone.
#95 Keyon Brown – Brown had the game of his life in the 2007 Motor City Bowl. I expected big things from him ever since, but he has not delivered. He has however been a stable force at end for the Boilers. He is a big game player, and what game can be bigger than Saturday? Time to step it up once again Keyon.
These men all will play their final game at home on Saturday. They deserve a large crowd to send them off. Hopefully they can raise the W flag, and then head to Bloomington with a bowl on the line. They have not given up, and neither should we. Another great class leaves us this season. A lot of people are trying to get together to get people in the stadium on Saturday. Do your part and cheer this team on. The place should be rocking high noon on Saturday.