April 29, 2005
By David Conner, Purdue Sports Information
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.- At first glance, Kyle Ingraham may look like a basketball player. The 6-foot-9, 226-pound wide receiver has the height to be a power forward or center in the Big Ten. He played basketball in high school and even had the chance to play in college.
"I definitely enjoyed playing basketball and even had a few offers from Wichita State, Bucknell and Samford," said Ingraham. "In the end, I thought that football was a better decision for me."
Purdue's offense previously known as "basketball on grass" seemed a perfect fit for Ingraham and lured him to play football.
"I knew about Coach Tiller's success and everything he has done with the program," said Ingraham. "Coach Chaney's offense throwing the ball five wide is pretty good for a receiver."
With a tall and slender build, Ingraham is nicknamed the "Stork" and is tied for the tallest football player in school history with former offensive lineman Seth Morris. Ingraham definitely uses his height on the football field.
"He has learned to use his size to his advantage," said wide receivers coach Bob DeBesse. "His ability to `bend' for such a tall guy is really remarkable."
Ingraham greatly increased his production from his freshman year to sophomore year. Ingraham had 13 catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns his first year at Purdue. Ingraham then broke out with 51 receptions for 624 yards and seven touchdowns last season, good enough for second on the team behind Taylor Stubblefield. Ingraham had an unbelievable game against Indiana as he caught 11 passes for 209 yards with two touchdowns. The 209 yards ranked third in Boilermaker history for a single game and first for an Old Oaken Bucket game. Ingraham attributed his success to hard work.
"I really got comfortable and got my timing down," he said. "I began to adapt to the quarterback more. All the work over the summer really helped."
Ingraham is getting better and better, but is not satisfied.
"I want to keep improving and help the team," said Ingraham. "Brandon (Kirsch) is going to do a great job and change things up. We had a good connection going last year, and hopefully we can keep that going."
This offseason will be a long one for Ingraham as he is coming off surgeries to repair his shoulder and ankle. He missed out on all 14 spring practices and the annual Spring Game. Ingraham insists that he will recover smoothly.
"I had two surgeries two months apart and will be recovering in the early summer," said Ingraham. "I think it was a setback that can be overcome with hard training in the summer. I plan on staying here an extra month over the summer to make sure that I am 100 percent when camp starts."
The junior wide receiver surely will be asked to step up in the upcoming Boilermaker season with the loss of Stubblefield's 89 catches. Ingraham is not worried about the talent of the current crop of receivers and is ready for the challenge.
"Over the past two years, I think that Purdue has lost its two best receivers ever, so stepping into the role will be essential to the success of the program," said Ingraham. "I think that I am ready to take over, and I know that there are four or five other receivers just as ready and capable."
While Ingraham's most-productive game was against Indiana, his most memorable moment was his first career game. He started his freshman year with a bang by catching a touchdown on his first career catch, a 7-yard touchdown.
"One of my best memories here at Purdue would be in my first game against Bowling Green when I scored and the crowd went crazy," said Ingraham. "It was such a rush for an incoming freshman."
To continue to build on his success, Ingraham must have a productive summer and fall.
"He must have a great summer in the weight room," said DeBesse. "He has to catch a thousand balls this summer to make up for lost opportunities this past semester."
Added head coach Joe Tiller, "This summer is very big for him to see what he can accomplish in the future."
Look for Ingraham to continue to improve on his production and emerge as one of the Big Tens best wide receivers.