Threatening the opposition's signal-caller is the goal of every defensive end: causing disruption, havoc and confusion to the offense.
Throughout its history, Purdue has produced many outstanding defensive ends, creating an institution unlike any other in college football - the Den of Defensive Ends.
The tradition dates to the days of Leo Sugar and Lamar Lundy from the late 1940s to the mid-1950s and subsequently Keena Tuner in the late 1970s, but it has flourished more recently. While Purdue's high-powered offense was making headlines from 1997 to 2008 under head coach Joe Tiller, the Boilermakers' defense made a name for itself principally for the play of its ends, led by position coaches Randy Melvin and Gary Emanuel.
In the 1998 Alamo Bowl, Rosevelt Colvin and Chike Okeafor were unstoppable, combining for six sacks of Kansas State quarterback and Heisman Trophy runner-up Michael Bishop. Colvin holds Purdue records for sacks in a season (15 in 1998) and a career (35).
Since 1999, 10 Boilermaker defensive ends have been selected in the National Football League draft, including first-round picks Anthony Spencer in 2007 and Ryan Kerrigan in 2011.
The "modern-era" draft history dates to 1999 with Okeafor and Colvin being selected in the third and fourth rounds, respectively. It continued in 2002 and 2004 as Akin Ayodele and Shaun Phillips also were third- and fourth-round selections, followed by Ray Edwards and Rob Ninkovich in the fourth and fifth rounds in 2006 and Cliff Avril in the third round in 2008. Most recently, Ryan Russell was a fifth-round pick in 2015.
Eight members of the Den have gone on to be selected for the NFL Pro Bowl - Sugar, Lundy, Turner, Colvin, Phillips, Spencer, Kerrigan and Avril - while four have played for Super Bowl champions: Turner, Colvin, Avril and Ninkovich.
The term Den of Defensive Ends was coined by Purdue senior associate athletics director for communications Tom Schott in 2004.
DEN OF DEFENSIVE ENDS
Cliff Avril, 2004-07
Akin Ayodele, 1999-2001
Rosevelt Colvin, 1995-98
Ray Edwards, 2003-05
Ryan Kerrigan, 2007-10
Lamar Lundy, 1954-56
Rob Ninkovich, 2004-05
Chike Okeafor, 1994-96, 1998
Shaun Phillips, 2000-03
Anthony Spencer, 2003-06
Leo Sugar, 1949-51
Keena Turner, 1976-79