Darrell Hazell took over as head coach of the Purdue Boilermakers with plenty of issues to fix before next season. At the top of his list was finding a new quarterback that fit into his and new offensive coordinator John Shoop‘s philosophy. As spring practice rolls on, it looks like Hazell and the Boilermakers may skew young under center next season as true freshman Danny Etling has taken over the majority of first-team reps.
Etling was the price of Purdue’s 2013 recruiting class, as the four-star recruit and No. 12 rated quarterback in the country followed through on his early verbal commitment to Purdue and stayed in-state to play his college football. The 6-foot-3, 212-pound Terre Haute, Indiana, native enrolled early to get his shot at the starting job this spring and that decision could pay major dividends.
The competition this spring has mainly been between Etling and senior Rob Henry. While Henry has been with the team longer and been a leader on offense, it has mostly come at positions other than quarterback. Henry is a better dual-threat option than Etling, but the freshman has shown the ability to deliver accurate passes and make good reads this spring that make him a better option for Shoop’s pro-style offense in 2013. That would likely shift Henry back to wide receiver, where he played last season.
Hazell is committed to turning things around at Purdue, and to do that he plans on putting the best players on the field for his system, regardless of experience. At quarterback, that could mean the very fresh face of Danny Etling will be leading the huddle in 2013. Will his talent lead Purdue to success next fall or will the unavoidable growing pains of a young man playing major college football be too much to overcome?