Purdue Football: National Signing Day – High School / Junior College

Purdue Football: National Signing Day – High School / Junior College


Personally, much like my feelings about the NFL Draft, I liked signing day when it was a one-day football blowout and not a seemingly fortnightly event. Regardless of my feelings, Signing Day Part II unfolds as I type, and Coach Walters and his team are filling in holes that were left unaddressed on Signing Day One. I’ll provide (or arrange for all to be provided) a more detailed individual analysis over the next week, but thought I’d give you an overview first.

Class of 2023 Tight End Signatures

George Burhenn

Purdue failed to land a tight end in the first signing period, and with Payne Durham moving to the next level, there was a need. Burhenn, a 3*, 6’5″, 205-pound tight end from Mr. Vernon High School in Mount Vernon, Indiana, fit the bill.

I was surprised when Burhenn didn’t sign anyone in the first signing period. He is not a last-minute player “to fill a place”. 247 Sports considered him the 7th best player in Indiana State.

Right now, he’s a big wide receiver. He’ll have to work at the dinner table (my favorite type of job) and in the weight room to turn into a tight end in college, but raw athletic gear is hard to ignore.

He will be the highest-rated tight end on the roster next season. It’s a solid late recovery for tight ends coach Seth Doege to develop.

Arhmad Athlete Branch

I have already spent quite a few words on Arhmad this week (you can find the article here).

Branch is a 3*, 6’1”, 175-pound composite wide receiver/defensive back from Festus High School in Festus, Missouri. He’s relatively new to football, only playing ball in high school as a junior and senior, but not new as an elite athlete. He’s also a basketball/track star who wouldn’t belong on a college basketball team.

Coach Walters wants to improve the overall athleticism of the roster, and signing guys like Branch is the way to achieve that goal. He could play wide receiver, corner or safety for Purdue. He’s a guy that you enter the program now and decide where to play it later.

Derrick Rogers Jr.

Rogers is a 3*, 6’1″, 170-pound athlete from Jones High School in Orlando, Fla. Former Maryland and UNLV commitment gives Boilermakers another athlete for offensive and defensive personnel to battle .

He primarily played receiver in high school, making 48 receptions for 920 yards and 8 touchdowns as a senior, but like Arhmad Branch, he has the physical traits Coach Walter likes in his defensive backs. He’s another player with no fixed position that increases the overall athleticism of the roster.

Dean of Mondell

Dean is a 3*, 6’3″, 237-pound athlete from Hurricane High School in Hurricane, WV. He primarily played defensive end in high school, but comes in as an “athlete” for Purdue Branch and Rogers are classic “athletes” who can play receiver or defensive back Dean, on the other hand, is an odd combination of running back/defensive end.

He exploded in 2022 as a defensive end, recording 139 tackles, 24 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and 4 forced fumbles. His running stats weren’t to be overlooked either, rushing for 617 yards and 16 touchdowns while doing double duty.

He kinda reminds me of former Clemson All-American Vic Beasley. Vic came to Clemson as a running back/tight end/defensive end and after two seasons trying to find his best position, he settled into a defensive end and found himself a top 10 draft pick .

Running backs coach Lamar Conrad was his main scout, and I guess he’ll look like a “thunder” change of pace back, but I also like his athleticism and acceleration at the end defensive. Much like the other 2 “athletes” Purdue picked up today, the name of the game is speed and athleticism for Coach Walters. Dean brings both to the table, now it’s up to the coaching staff to find his best fit and coach him.

Issiah Walker Offensive Line

I wrote about Walker here last week. Walker is a 6’4″, 310 pound right tackle from Norland High School in Miami who comes to Purdue after a sideways career that saw him enroll in 3 different schools (Florida, then Miami, then Butler Community College ) before making his way to West Lafayette to play for new offensive line coach Matt Mattox.

Walker is a right tackle. That’s what he played in high school, and that’s what he played in Butler CC. He’s athletic enough to move to the left side, but prefers the right, and that’s where I anticipate he’ll stay at Purdue. He’s light on his feet for a big man and does a good job of stalking second-tier linebackers and defensive backs. That should serve him well in an offense that calls for offensive linemen to come out and lead the way on perimeter runs and screens.

It’s redundant, but first and foremost it’s an upgrade in terms of athleticism for Purdue’s offensive line who’s been mostly asked to form a wall in front of the quarterback and hold on long enough for the quarterback to deliver the ball. I expect a more active and mobile line under Coach Harrell and Mattox, and Walker is an active and mobile right tackle.

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