Purdue’s Rob Henry Making Wise Switch From Offense to Defense

By josephsmith
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

This week Purdue Boilermaker fans will not see senior quarterback Rob Henry under center.  It looks like for the time being the senior signal caller’s career on the offensive side of the ball may be over.  Luckily for the Boilermakers the athletic Henry has found a way onto the field on the defensive side of the ball.  Henry will be playing safety for Coach Darrell Hazell’s Boilermakers this Saturday as the Nebraska Cornhuskers visit Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette.

Rob Henry was a highly touted recruit out of Florida when he settled on Purdue.  Even then there were some questions on how to use this young man’s athletic gifts to better serve the team.  After much debate Henry made the most likely decision and decided to use his skills and knowledge as a Boilermaker quarterback.  With all of the tradition at the position at Purdue it was an honor to follow in the footsteps of Drew Brees, Kyle Orton, Bob Griese, and Jim Everett to name a few.

In odd twist of fate Henry has lost his starting job to a freshman, Danny Etling, much like quarterback Robert Marve lost his starting job to Henry when Henry was a freshman in 2010.  In 2010 Henry started seven games and played in 11.  The most evident characteristics that coaches and fans took away from Henry’s freshman campaign were his toughness and leadership skills.  Henry proved that he was a team leader at a young age and helped raise the play of those around him.  In fact Henry made such an impression that season that he was voted team co-captain for his sophomore season, but unfortunately he suffered a season-ending knee injury before the season even began.

As a junior in 2012, Henry was back and ready to lead the Boilermakers.  He appeared in 11 games for former coach Danny Hope as the team finished the season 6-7.  The Boilermakers finished the season with three straight Big Ten victories and earned a place in the Heart of Dallas Bowl where they lost to Oklahoma State.  In 2012 Henry saw time at wide receiver as well as running back on top of his quarterbacking duties.  Henry took the offseason to prepare for his senior campaign, and he would be doing so with a new head coach.  He began the season at the bottom of the depth chart once again, and again he climbed his way to the top.  With the season already looking grim and his future as a quarterback doubtful it was time for coach Hope to make the switch and give the freshman Etling an opportunity to learn. Hopefully some of Henry’s leadership qualities will rub off on the young man in this Henry’s final season with the team.

The reason there was any question about whether or not to play Henry at quarterback was because of his potential at the next level.  Some scouts thought that Henry had NFL talent if he were to switch positions.  Henry has performed very well in agility and speed tests, and his knowledge of the game is also very high.  So as the Boilermakers prepare to host the Nebraska Cornhuskers this weekend fans may recall former Husker quarterback Scott Frost and compare Henry to Frost.  Some scouts believe that much like Frost, Henry could make the transition to safety from quarterback in order to play in the NFL.  After Frost’s days at Nebraska he went on to have a career in the NFL being drafted by the New York Jets.

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