After the inconsistencies of Danny Hope and the bottoming out of the Purdue football program under Darrell Hazell it has been a huge win and era of excitement for the Boilermakers under Jeff Brohm. His coaching acumen was evident immediately when he took the dumpster fire 3-9 team to 7-6 with a bowl win in his first season. However, what has fans most excited is the amount of talent Brohm is bringing to West Lafayette.
If you’re a Purdue fan you very familiar with the frustrations in recruiting, especially in basketball. There have been special seasons for the Boilermakers but rarely has that seemed to transition in the next step up led by a recruiting boost (football under Drew Brees, football under Kyle Orton, basketball after the Baby Boilers, basketball after Biggie). As a Purdue fan our teams have always been classified as hoping that once every graduating class something special could happen and then waiting four more years, an almost start over after success. (It’s worth noting that Matt Painter has turned a corner with recruiting that has hopes high for more Elite 8’s and more.)
The recruiting ranks under Jeff Brohm has been the biggest fuel of my excitement for the Purdue football program. Brohm is bringing in the amount of talent that hasn’t been seen in West Lafayette almost ever. Each 4* committing to West Lafayette is still almost a shock because the level of success the program has had doesn’t warrant that. It’s way over the program’s head and a shock that Brohm can do that at Purdue.
In his first full recruiting class in 2018 the Boilers finished 49th, a vast improvement over Hazell, with no 4* recruits. In 2019 Brohm brought in the 26th class with six 4* players and for 2020 it was another recruiting win with the 29th class and four more 4* recruits. The talent is there and this week featured two more wins for the Boilers by getting 4* QB Sam Jackson away from Minnesota and 4* CB D. J. Johnson transferring from Iowa to Purdue (if he gets a waiver will have three years of eligibility).
The last two seasons haven’t ended in ideal ways after the 63-14 drubbing against Auburn in the Music City Bowl in 2018 and a rash of injuries leading to a 4-8 finish for 2019. Jeff Brohm’s recruiting still has me feeling positive about the transition from where the Boilers were just a few years ago, but the truth is the great recruiting comes with great expectations.
After being courted by Louisville athletic director Mike Bobinski ponied up to keep Jeff Brohm with a new seven year deal worth 36.8 million dollars going in to the 2019 season. Coach Brohm will earn at least five million each season except 2021 ($4.9 million) and is being compensated as one of the top coaches in all of college football as he gets ready for season number four.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not off the Jeff Brohm hype train, but he is being paid well, is a good coach and is recruiting very well so now it’s time to see Purdue take steps forward. I don’t think the seat is warm for Jeff Brohm, but another sub par situation could start to make things uncomfortable. 13-13 with a 1-1 bowl record was a great start in the first two seasons, but with all that talent 4-8 wasn’t good enough, even with injuries.
I’m not calling for a Big Ten championship in 2020 but Brohm needs to get the Boilers back to a bowl game. It is still a young team for the Brohm squad, especially with Elijah Sindelar calling it a career, but the team still has the immense talent to be competitive week in and week out. We’ll find out quickly where this team is starting the season at Nebraska and then home against a very good Memphis team in week two. For 2020 Purdue will be on the road against Nebraska, Boston College, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and IU while hosting Memphis, Air Force, Rutgers, Northwestern, Wisconsin and Iowa.
My excitement is still high for the Purdue program as Jeff Brohm continues to garner huge recruiting wins that no one expected for the Boilermakers. It does seem exactly like the Purdue thing to not be the straight line to success even with everything seemingly set up to do just that. However, I believe Brohm is an up and coming coach, see Tennessee and Louisville courting him, that can harness that talent and get results on the gridiron, but in year four the program needs to be more consistent and happen now. Great recruiting wins come with great expectations.