Purdue Signs 27 to Football Letters

Boilermaker 1998 signees.

Feb. 4, 1998

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Head Coach Joe Tiller has announced that 27 student-athletes have signed National Letters-of-Intent to enroll at Purdue and play football, starting in the fall of 1998. Twenty are current high school seniors and the other seven are junior college players. This is Tiller's second Boilermaker recruiting class.

"We are pleased with both the quality and quantity of this recruiting class," Tiller said. "We addressed our specific needs, and were able to recruit players who can be contributors as they mature. We're continuing to improve the speed on our team but it has not been totally solved. The success of our 1997 team had a positive influence on recruiting. Our preparation for the Alamo Bowl helped in this area."

Offensive players dominate the class with 19 signees. Six running backs inked with Purdue, four wide receivers, four offensive linemen, three quarterbacks and two tight ends. Defensively, there are three linemen, two linebackers and two backs. There also is one kicker. The coaching staff covered the country, signing recruits from 11 different states. Indiana led the way with seven signees, followed by Texas with five, three from Kansas, two each from Ohio, Michigan, Arizona and California, and one apiece from Illinois, Florida, Virginia and Montana.

1998 PURDUE FOOTBALL RECRUITS

NAME                POS.   HT.    WT.   HOMETOWN, HIGH SCHOOL/JUNIOR COLLEGE 

HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS:

Sedrick Brown       RB     6-2    220   Victoria, Tex. (Victoria)
Doyal Butler        TE     6-4    220   Tucson, Ariz. (Sabino)
Travis Dorsch       P/K    6-6    200   Bozeman, Mont. (Bozeman)
James Dunnigan      CB     5-9    180   Washington, D.C. (Fork Union, Va., Military Academy)
Steve Ennis         RB     6-0    200   Flower Mound, Tex. (Marcus)
Alan Ganaway        WR     6-0    180   Ft. Wayne, Ind. (Harding) 
Kelly Kitchel       OL     6-6    290   Walton, Ind. (Lewis-Cass)
Pete Lougheed       TE     6-5    245   Ft. Wayne, Ind. (Homestead)
Montrell Lowe       RB     5-9    185   LaPorte, Tex. (LaPorte)
Cornell Middlebrook RB/LB  6-2    215   Detroit, Mich. (Pershing) 
Max Miller          LB     6-5    240   Fairmount, Ind. (Madison-Grant)
Seth Morris         OL     6-9    300   Poseyville, Ind. (North Posey)
Gene Mruczkowski    OL     6-3    290   Cleveland, Ohio (Benedictine) 
Joe Odom            LB     6-1    210   Bethalto, Ill. (Civic Memorial)
Mike Segard         QB     6-4    190   Rockford, Mich. (Rockford) 
A.T .Simpson        WR     6-5    200   Indianapolis, Ind. (Cathedral)
Jeremy Thomas       RB     6-0    200   Port Orange, Fla. (Atlantic)
Ralph Turner        QB     6-2    185   Dallas, Tex. (Carter)
Rob Turner          DT     6-4    280   Kirtland, Ohio (Kirtland) 
Joe Webster         OL     6-6    300   Noblesville, Ind. (Noblesville) 

JUNIOR COLLEGE PLAYERS:

Da'Shann Austin     CB    5-10    175   Liberty, Mo. (Coffeyville, Kan., Community College)
J. Crabtree         RB     5-9    205   Wichita, Kan. (Coffeyville, Kan., Community College)
David Edgerton      QB     6-2    200   Liberty, Mo.  (Garden City, Kan., Community College)
Jon Holloway        DT     6-4    280   Phoenix, Ariz. (Glendale, Ariz., Community College)
Cliff Jackson       WR    5-10    180   Chico, Calif. (Butte, Calif., College)
Randall Lane        WR     6-1    205   Chicago, Ill. (Los Angeles, Calif., Valley Junior College)
Derrick Williams    DT     6-4    300   Houston, Tex. (Tyler, Tex., Junior College)

1998 Purdue Football Recruit Bios:

Da'Shann Austin, CB, 5-10, 175, Jr., Liberty, Mo. (Coffeyville, Kan., Community College)
Second team junior college All-America defensive back and an all-conference punt returner in 1997·Jayhawk Conference Defensive Back of the Year·intercepted six passes and broke up 15·returned one pickoff a school-record 101 yards, and had two thefts in Coffeyville's bowl game·two-year starter·as a freshman, set a school record with 21 PBUs and had four interceptions. Coach Skip Foster: "Da'Shann is a good man-to-man coverage corner. He has good speed and athletic ability."

Sedrick Brown, RB, 6-2, 200, Fr., Victoria, Tex. (Victoria)
Two-time district offensive MVP, and all-area and third team all-state as a senior·rushed for 1,421 yards and 30 touchdowns in 1997, and 1,880 yards and 25 TDs as a junior...Victoria was 11-1 in Class 5A. Coach Mark Reeve: "Sedrick is an excellent all-around player. He's consistently run a 4.5 in the 40, has great hands and is an excellent blocker. He knows how to run the football. He scored 55 TDs in the last two years and had only one fumble as a senior. Consistent would be a good word to describe him."

Doyal Butler, TE, 6-4, 220, Fr., Tucson, Ariz. (Sabino)
Caught 26 passes for 745 yards (28.7 yards per reception) and 13 touchdowns in 1997·Sabino was 13-1 and advanced to the state championship game·as a junior, snared 11 passes for 341 yards (31 per catch) and five TDs·also played linebacker·prep teammate of current Boiler Brady Doe. Coach Jeff Scurran: "Doyal is one of those rare breeds that is hard to find. He is a big, tall, rangy athletic tight end. He is tough and can block. He is a real good recruit and Purdue's coaching staff did a great job of recruiting him. He has a chance to become a big-time player."

J. Crabtree, RB, 5-9, 205, Jr., Wichita, Kan. (Coffeyville, Kan., Community College)
Rushed for 1,479 yards and 24 touchdowns in 1997·in Coffeyville's bowl game against Snow, he rushed for 227 yards and two touchdowns against the nation's top defense, which had allowed an average of 50 yards per game to previous opponents·first team All-Jayhawk Conference. Coach Skip Foster: "J. was the best tailback in our league. He is a very good back. J. is an overachiever and a great kid. He has above-average speed and balance."

Travis Dorsch, P/K, 6-6, 200, Fr., Bozeman, Mont. (Bozeman)
1997 USA Today first team All-USA·made four of six field goal attempts as a senior, including a 63-yarder (a Montana record and fourth-longest in national high school records)·made kicks of 63, 54, 43 and 36 yards; missed from 61 and 26 yards· made 34 of 35 PAT kicks, and a state record 39 straight, dating back to junior season·24 of 56 of his kickoffs went out of the end zone, including six through the uprights·led the state with a 43.7-yard punting average·for his career, made 11 of 14 FGs of 40-plus yards, and four of six FGs of 50-plus yards·shared time at quarterback as a junior, and was an all-state receiver as a senior·caught 48 passes for 678 yards and eight touchdowns·.Bozeman was 8-4 and advanced to the state title game·led the state in rebounding as a basketball junior, and is a baseball pitcher (team MVP)·excellent student. Coach Bill Walker: "Travis is the best high school kicker I've ever coached or seen. It's a strange sight because he's so tall, but the ball just explodes off his foot. It got to the point that I didn't bother thinking about punting if the ball was in the middle of the field. The best thing about him is he's not just a kicker. He's also a good athlete who can also kick. That sets him apart."

James Dunnigan, CB, 5-9, 180, Fr., Washington, D.C. (Fork Union, Va., Military Academy)
Attended Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, D.C., before spending the last four months at Fork Union Military Academy·in a rotating secondary system (so all players would get scouted by colleges), he had 30 tackles and one interception·will have freshman eligibility at Purdue·started at point guard on his high school's basketball team. Coach John Shuman: "James is a hard-nosed kid with great speed and intensity. He did a great job for us covering punts, too. He made a lot of hits and always made things happen. He was also aggressive at corner and made four interceptions. He liked to come up and blast people."

David Edgerton, QB, 6-2, 200, So., Liberty, Mo. (Garden City, Kan., Community College)
Threw for 1,936 yards and 24 touchdowns (only eight interceptions) on 60 percent passing in 1997, leading Garden City to the junior college national championship game·first team all-conference·will have sophomore eligibility at Purdue· Coach Jim Gush: "David is a pretty mature person. Two of his best qualities are his leadership and his competitiveness. He's a drop-back-type thrower. He makes good decisions and that's important in the offense they run at Purdue. Dave did a great job of coming in and assuming a leadership role. He's a great athlete and has a real strong arm."

Steve Ennis, RB, 6-0, 200, Fr., Flower Mound, Tex. (Marcus)
Rushed for over 2,000 yards in 1997, including at least 100 yards in all five playoff games and at least 200 in the final two·MVP of the 5A state championship victory after rushing for 220 yards·Marcus was 14-2 his senior campaign.·also caught 24 passes for 242 yards, and scored a total of 30 touchdowns·rushed for over 4,000 career yards, and is an excellent 110 high hurdler. Coach Que Brittain: "Steve is a great athlete and a powerful running back. He has been extremely productive for us in his three years as a starter. He's a powerful back who doesn't like to dance around or be fancy; he would rather come right at you and bounce players off of him. He comes from a great family and I think Purdue will be thrilled with the player they're getting."

Alan Ganaway, WR, 6-0, 180, Fr., Ft. Wayne, Ind. (Harding)
Rushed for over 1,800 yards, 30 touchdowns and averaged almost nine yards per carry in 1997·Indiana Coaches Association first team 3A all-state·returned two kickoffs for touchdowns·Harding was 10-4.

Jon Holloway, DT, 6-4, 280, Jr., Phoenix, Ariz. (Glendale, Ariz., Community College)
First team All-Arizona Community College Conference and first team All-Western State League in 1997·team captain·had 66 tackles, 12 stops for losses and three sacks·team was 8-3 and won the Valley of the Sun Bowl·won the conference championship, placed fourth in the region and 13th in the final junior college national rankings. Coach Mike Grossner: "Jon is a late bloomer; I consider him a diamond in the rough. He was a 230-pound tight end in high school. He's going to be a great one. He's got good character and he probably will major in math. We used him some at tight end in goal line situations but his strength is defensive line."

Cliff Jackson, WR, 5-10, 180, Jr., Chico, Calif. (Butte, Calif., College)
Snared 51 passes for 1,069 yards (21 yards per catch) and 10 touchdowns in 1997·Butte was one of the top four junior college teams in California, finishing 8-2 and losing in the north division championship game last year·won the California junior college long jump (24-10), and was timed in the 100 meters in 10.3 seconds. Coach Craig Rigsbee: "Cliff has a lot of potential. He has great speed with good, soft hands. He can really run and he's what you're looking for in that (Purdue's) offense. He will have a chance to catch a lot of passes and make some plays."

Kelly Kitchel, OL, 6-6, 290, Fr., Walton, Ind. (Lewis-Cass)
All-conference tight end and defensive end at Lewis-Cass his senior campaign in 1996·has been enrolled part-time at Purdue this school year·has added 40 pounds in his own workouts·brother of former Boilermaker basketball player Jon Kitchel, and cousin of former Boiler baseballer Tom Kitchel and former Indiana basketball player Ted Kitchel. Coach Scott Mannering: "Kelly will be a super player for Purdue. He has good hands and feet, and is a good overall athlete. He is very coachable and has good work ethics. He comes from a great family and is a winner."

Randall Lane, WR, 6-1, 205, Jr., Chicago, Ill. (Los Angeles, Calif., Valley Junior College)
First team junior college All-American in 1997 with 69 pass receptions for 1,200 yards (17.4 per catch) and 14 touchdowns·played in 1996 with current Boiler defensive back Henry Bell·won the 1997 California junior college long jump and placed sixth in the 100 meters·attended Simeon High School in Chicago.

Pete Lougheed, TE, 6-5, 245, Fr., Ft. Wayne, Ind. (Homestead)
As a senior fullback, rushed for 850 yards, caught passes for 300 yards and scored 26 touchdowns·led Homestead to a 10-1 record·on defense, had seven sacks, three blocked punts and one interception·father, Scott, was the Boilers' punter from 1969-1971, mother is a Purdue graduate and grandfather, Olin, was a Boiler guard in 1942.

Montrell Lowe, RB, 5-9, 185, Fr., LaPorte, Tex. (LaPorte)
Rushed for 1,111 yards and 11 touchdowns on 150 carries (7.4 yards per attempt) in 1997·as a junior, ran for 1,076 yards and 12 TDs·also has played quarterback and defensive back and is an outstanding long jumper. Coach Forrest Weigan: "Montrell has lots of speed, acceleration, quickness and an ability to change directions. He is a strong and durable kid. He has great peripheral vision and tremendous balance. He is a very elusive runner who was highly recruited. He is smart, respected by everyone and a great leader on and off the field. He is an outstanding student who is goal oriented."

Cornell Middlebrook, RB/LB, 6-2, 215, Fr., Detroit, Mich. (Pershing)
Rushed for 1,250 yards and 22 touchdowns, and caught 500 yards of passes as a senior·as a linebacker, had 50 solo tackles, seven sacks and two fumble recoveries·first team all-city, second team all-state and No. 16 on the Detroit Free Press Dream Team as a senior.

Max Miller, LB, 6-5, 240, Fr., Fairmount, Ind. (Madison-Grant) All-county, all-conference and Bloomington Herald-Times Top 33·four-year starter·Madison-Grant was 9-2 in 1997·as a junior, had 66 tackles (43 solo), seven sacks, three fumbles caused, two fumble recoveries and two blocked punts·one of the state's top basketball scorers (22 ppg). Coach Grant Zgunda: "Max has lots of athletic ability which catches your eye. He runs extremely well with great lateral movement. He will do everything possible to become a good player. He is a hard worker and a great young man. His best football is still ahead."

Seth Morris, OL, 6-9, 300, Fr., Poseyville, Ind. (North Posey)
Two-year starter·AP first team all-state, Indiana Coaches Assocation Top 50 list and Bloomington Herald-Times small (school) all-state as a senior·North Posey was 12-1 and made the Class 2A semistate his junior campaign·shot putter and discus thrower in track. Coach Carl Gengelbach: "Seth graded very high and is a very solid offensive lineman. His strength is his pass protection. He moves his feet very well and has worked hard to improve his agility and footwork. He still has a lot of maturing to do and, once that happens, he could be a really good player. He's an outstanding young man and a very good student."

Gene Mruczkowski, OL, 6-3, 290, Fr., Cleveland, Ohio (Benedictine)
Second team Division IV (third largest) all-state·led Benedictine to a 10-1 record and to the state semifinals·also played defensive tackle·excellent student. Coach Al Hodgkievic: "Gene is a tremendous young man as a player and as an individual. He is a diligent worker and has a positive attitude. He is motivated toward his commitments. He is an honor student and President of the National Honor Society."

Joe Odom, LB, 6-1, 210, Fr., Bethalto, Ill. (Civic Memorial)
Two-way star who was first team all-state by the Illinois coaches, and honorable mention by the Chicago Tribune·racked up 148 tackles, rushed for 1,188 yards and scored 19 touchdowns·All-Mississippi Valley Conference as a linebacker, and Player-of-the-Year by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Belleville News and Alton Telegraph. Coach Rick Reinhart: "Joe has all the tools so he has a chance to be a good college player. On top of everything else, he's just a tremendous person."

Mike Segard, QB, 6-4, 190, Fr., Rockford, Mich. (Rockford)
Led Rockford to an 11-1 record as a senior·all-area and honorable mention all-state as a senior·two-year starter.

A.T. Simpson, WR, 6-5, 200, Fr., Indianapolis, Ind. (Cathedral)
1997 Parade Magazine All-American·caught 27 passes for 377 yards (15.1 per reception) and three touchdowns·as a junior snared 43 for 787 yards (19.2) and 11 touchdowns as Cathedral won the state 4A championship·holds five school receiving records, including 85 career receptions·four-year starter as WR/DB, and a three-year regular in basketball. Coach Rick Streiff: "A.T. has the size and speed to become a very good Division 1 player in the Purdue system. He has a great ability to catch the ball and has some real physical gifts. He is a good worker and has a very nice future ahead of him."

Jeremy Thomas, RB, 6-0, 200, Fr., Port Orange, Fla. (Atlantic)
First team Class 4A (third largest) all-state and district offensive MVP as a senior, and two-time all-county and all-central Florida·rushed for 1,501 yards and 18 touchdowns in 1997·ran for 4,041 yards and 38 TDs on 683 carries (5.9 yards per tote) in his three-year career·led Volusia County in ground yards the last two years, and paced central Florida as a senior·also played linebacker in goal line situations·second team all-state as a junior·very solid student. Coach Kevin Sullivan: "Jeremy is a strong, powerful, physical back. He's a tremendous athlete and could play a lot of places. He gets stronger as the game goes on. He set a state record as a junior, rushing 49 times, in a monsoon, for 423 yards in a triple overtime game. He's just a tremendous back. I also coached (Michigan State's) Marc Renaud, so I think Jeremy will fit in well in the Big Ten. He's a good, quality person who will work hard."

Ralph Turner, QB, 6-2, 185, Fr., Dallas, Tex. (Carter)
As a senior, completed 39 of 66 passes (.591) for 902 yards (23 yards per completion) and 12 touchdowns·rushed for 238 yards and three TDs on 41 carries (5.8 yards per attempt)·threw for three TDs and ran for another in Carter's one playoff game·first team all-district and also played cornerback·statistics were not overwhelming because he played for a dominant running team, and he missed 3.5 games with an injury to his throwing hand. Coach Eddie Stock: "Ralph is an improviser. He has the talent. If the play's not there, he can kill you running. In our playoff game, a number of times we tried to throw on third-and-long, and he'd scramble to pick up the first down. He has a terrific arm and real good speed. He's a lot stronger than he looks. He's a tough kid. He's what most people are going to look for if you want to throw the football, especially in a one-back situation."

Rob Turner, DT, 6-4, 280, Fr., Kirtland, Ohio (Kirtland)
Three-year starter at both defensive tackle and offensive guard·racked up 100 tackles, eight quarterback hurries, seven tackles for loss, four sacks and one fumble recovery as a senior·outstanding wrestler and a strong student. Coach Pat McKenrick: "Purdue is getting a blue-chip player and person in Rob Turner. He has a great work ethic on the field, in the weight room and in the classroom. He is committed to school and the community, and comes from an outstanding family."

Joe Webster, OL, 6-6, 300, Fr., Noblesville, Ind. (Noblesville)
Two-time all-state·1997 Hamilton County Player-of-the-Year and Bloomington Herald-Times Top 33·Noblesville was 11-2 in 1997 and averaged 300 yards rushing and 33 points per contest.

Derrick Williams, DT, 6-4, 300, Jr., Houston, Tex. (Tyler, Tex., Junior College)
Compiled six sacks in 1997·Tyler was 6-5·attended Klein Forest High School in Houston·from the same junior college as current Boilermaker basketball player Tony Mayfield. Coach Dale Carr: "Derrick has tremendous potential. I think he will only get better and better as time passes because he's a different person now. There was a lot of improvement in his game since last year. I think he could be an all-conference player by the time he's a senior at Purdue. He was real good this year and provided excellent run stopping ability and pass rushing."