Purdue, Indiana sign players amid changes
By CLIFF BRUNT
AP Sports Writer
INDIANAPOLIS -- Purdue was planning to tweak its offensive philosophy even before hiring Danny Hope last month to take over the program in 2009.
Jordan Brewer, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound wide receiver from Carmel, is bigger than the receivers Purdue normally recruits. Caleb TerBush, an athletic quarterback from Illinois, is more of a runner than past Purdue signal callers. They were among 21 players who signed with the Boilermakers on Wednesday as part of Joe Tiller's final recruiting class.
Indiana signed 19 players to coach Bill Lynch's first class, and Ball State signed 21 players.
Purdue coach Joe Tiller was happy to land Brewer, who might represent the future for Purdue receivers. Tiller noted the size of new England's Randy Moss and New York's Plaxico Burress, the star receivers on the Super Bowl teams on Sunday.
"Jordan's a guy that's a real handful outside," Tiller said. "There certainly is a trend toward bigger, more physical wide receivers, and certainly, he (Brewer) would fit that category."
Tiller said Brewer could follow Dustin Keller's path. Keller came in as a wide receiver, grew into a tight end and was named the team's MVP this past season.
"When we initially recruited Jordan, we really thought about him as a bigger Dustin Keller," Tiller said. "He's very similar to Dustin coming out of high school. Multi-sport guy, really an explosive athlete. The good news is there are options."
TerBush attended a camp at Purdue last summer and impressed the coaches with his intelligence, arm strength and athletic ability. He passed for 1,575 yards and 16 touchdowns and ran for 859 yards with 16 scores this past season while leading Metamora Township to the Illinois 5A championship last season.
Purdue started talking about adding a mobile quarterback after the coaching staff watched Appalachian State and Oregon successfully run the ball from that position against Michigan last season.
"You see, certainly, the potential that brings to the field," he said. "As we continued to watch college football, you look at those things and you get to thinking 'What's possible here, what could happen?"'
Tiller felt better about the change in philosophy after Purdue hired Hope. Hope's quarterbacks frequently ran with the ball at Eastern Kentucky.
Tiller also is impressed with Ralph Bolden, a 5-9, 185-pound speedster from Folkston, Ga.
"Ralph is one of those five or six guys who could play for us right away," he said. "Ralph is an excellent football player, and we recruited him as an athlete because we think he could be a running back, we think he could be a receiver, we think he could be a corner. He has that type of explosiveness and ability to jump and run. We'd love for him to come in here and settle in at the running back position."
Indiana bolstered its depth at both running back and wide receiver, signing four players at each position.
"We are very excited about this class," coach Lynch said. "We feel like we addressed our needs and improved ourselves in areas we were hit hardest by graduation. There is no question we have improved our overall athleticism and team speed, which was a goal of ours when we started this recruiting process."
Tyler Adetona, a wide receiver from Gainesville, Ga., could fill the void created when James Hardy decided to leave early. Adetona had 75 receptions for 1,169 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2007.
"Tyler is an explosive athlete with great strength and he will bring a physical presence to our wide receiver position," Lynch said.
Running back Shane Covington of Milwaukee is a versatile athlete who threw for 608 yards and ran for another 504 as a senior, and had 478 receiving yards as a junior. As a track star, he finished third in the nation in the triple jump in 2006 (46 feet, 11 inches) and fifth nationally in the long jump (22-2).
"Shane Covington is an outstanding athlete that is capable of playing any number of positions and is an excellent playmaker," Lynch said.
Darius Willis of Franklin Central in Indianapolis was the runner-up for Mr. Football in Indiana. He rushed for 1,728 yards and 28 touchdowns as a senior.
"Darius is a strong and physical back with outstanding speed," Lynch said. "We are really excited for a top athlete from the Indianapolis area to join us in Bloomington."
Kyle Hoke and Cameron Lowry highlight Ball State's class.
Hoke, coach Brady Hoke's nephew, is a 5-11, 190-pound safety from Sugar Land, Texas, who helped his team finish 13-1 last season.
Lowry's father, Orlando, is a former Indianapolis Colt. The offensive tackle from Indianapolis Pike helped his team finish 14-1 last season.
Among the Indiana high school players who went with out-of-state schools is 6-8, 310-pound lineman Anthony Oden of Lawrence North, who signed with Arkansas. He's the younger brother of former Mr. Basketball Greg Oden, the No. 1 pick in last year's NBA draft.
Also, defensive back Adrien Spencer of Class 2A champion Fort Wayne Luers signed with Bowling Green; 300-pound lineman Ryan Barnes of 5A champion Carmel signed with Louisville; and running back Jordan Taylor of Class 3A runner-up South Bend St. Joseph's signed with Marshall.