June 6, 2011
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - When Danny Hope took over the reins of the Purdue football program in 2009, he recognized the Boilermakers had to address the need for more team speed. The addition of the likes of O.J. Ross, Rob Henry, Antavian Edison, Normando Harris, Gary Bush and Ricardo Allen started a speed movement in the program that has carried over to the class that Hope and his staff signed this past February.
Incoming freshmen Akeem Hunt, Shane Mikesky, Raheem Mostert and Frankie Williams showed the focus on speed by recently wrapping up impressive prep track and field seasons in Georgia, Indiana and Florida.
"We really pay close attention through the recruiting process of identifying guys that can come in and be real difference-makers in terms of team speed," Hope said. "It started with our first class we signed, and it will continue to be an important factor when we look at guys. We're very excited about the athleticism of the guys we have coming in. These players really turned in some impressive times during their spring track seasons, even finishing ahead of some of the football recruits signed by the local conferences in the south."
Hunt, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound athlete from Covington, Ga., was a member of Newton High School's 4x100m relay team that defended its Class AAAAA title at the state championship meet in May. The quartet repeated as champions with a time of 41.79 seconds, and Hunt followed up with a second-place finish in the long jump (22 feet, 10.75 inches) and a third-place finish as part of the 4x400m relay team to help Newton place sixth in Georgia for the year.
Mikesky, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound wide receiver from Zionsville, Ind., returned for his senior season at Zionsville High School with the sixth-fastest time in the nation in the 110m hurdles. A two-time IHSAA state champion in the event, he didn't disappoint in his final prep championship by taking home his third consecutive title with a personal record time of 13.85. He also finished ninth in the 300m hurdles in a time of 38.97.
Mostert, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound athlete who returned nine kickoffs and a punt for touchdowns as a senior for New Smyrna Beach High School, finished fourth in both the 100m (10.69) and 300m hurdles (37.96) at the FHSAA AAA State Championship Meet. Mostert won his preliminary heat in the 100m in a nearly identical time (10.68) as his finals run.
Williams, a 5-foot-9, 175-pound athlete from Tampa, finished first in the district meet in the 200m, with a time of 22.16, and third in the region in the event, while also competing very well in the state championships. Williams broke the Robinson High School career record with nine kickoff and punt returns for touchdowns that was previously held by current Kansas City Chief Javier Arenas.