The last name Brohm easily conjures up thoughts of high-flying passing football. So, it should come as no surprise that new Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm would like to bring that idea to the Boilermakers.
However, following spring football there was a glaring problem with that plan — a lack of talent and dependability amongst the wide receiver group. Just how big a need did Brohm see following spring football and how big a deal is the development of the position heading in to the fall?
“Well, that’s going to be vital to our success,” said Brohm at Big Ten media day on Tuesday. “I think as we went through the spring, that position was not where we would like for it to be. And we do understand there’s work to be done.”
So, Brohm and Co. went to work to address that issue immediately. He scoured the graduate transfer and junior college market for talent that would make the wide receiver position immediately more productive.
Brohm mentioned two of the junior college players by name during Tuesday’s media session — Isaac Zito and Terry Wright.
The pair was under-recruited a bit at the JUCO level and are gambles no doubt. Wright was just the No. 23 ranked wide receiver in the junior college ranks, while Zito comes in much more highly regarded at No. 11 in the JUCO rankings according to 247Sports.
To be fair, the cupboard wasn’t totally bare coming out of spring. Redshirt freshman Jackson Anthrop proved to be a thorn in the side of the defense in the spring game alone. However, at 5-11, 191 pounds, Anthrop is more of a slot receiver and weapon at the line of scrimmage.
There also seems to be potential in newcomer D.J. Edwards, who at 6-2, 182 pounds has a body that could be ready to contribute early on.
What Brohm saw as missing was that immediate deep threat, and he hopes the new players coming in can provide that.
Perhaps the biggest spotlight will shine on Notre Dame graduate transfer Corey Holmes.
At 6-1, 190 pounds, Holmes has a reputation as a playmaker when he gets touches — and that has been his issue so far at the collegiate level. Holmes comes to Purdue possessing the speed that could transform the offense, timed at 4.39 in the 40-yard dash.
This could be the opportunity needed in the offense that is a perfect fit for him. Just how quickly he picks up the offense and gets in the mix will tell just how big of an impact he and the other transfers can have in 2017.
“We’ve just got to find a way to get them all better, in the mix, see what they do best, find a way to utilize them and really if we can get some that are deep threats for us to be able to push the ball vertically,” Brohm said. “That’s what we’re really looking for.”
Purdue’s ability to fully implement Brohm’s offensive scheme is likely going to hinge on his ability to have the right pieces in the mix. If not, we may be a year or two away from seeing its full potential.
It would be shame to see David Blough’s arm talent go to waste, so the pressure is certainly on this group of incoming transfers to make things happen.