Purdue has had very little success since Joe Tiller left the program following the 2008 season. During his time in West Lafayette, the Boilermakers ended a 12-year bowl drought, while playing in 10 bowl games in 12 seasons as the head coach. Much of his success can be credited to stability at quarterback.
Certain teams are known for their propensity to produce great players at a certain position and Purdue has come to be known as the cradle of quarterbacks. Three former Boilermakers (Len Dawson, Bob Griese and Drew Brees) have won at least one Super Bowl as as starting quarterback in the NFL.
Since Tiller left Purdue, the Boilermakers have struggled to find a quarterback that can return them to success in the Big Ten. Last season, Danny Etling and Austin Appleby split time at the position and they combined for 16 touchdowns and 16 interceptions while the team finished 3-9 under 2nd-year head coach, Darrell Hazell.
Etling has since transferred to LSU and the position is still up for grabs. The incumbent, Appleby, has the starting experience that will likely give him the edge as we approach the regular season. Appleby could be challenged by redshirt freshman David Blough who is drawing comparisons to former Boilermaker and current New Orleans Saints‘ quarterback, Drew Brees. Blough is a 6-foot-1, 202 pound quarterback from Carrollton, Texas and has been described as accurate and highly intelligent. True freshman Elijah Sindelar is also considered a candidate, though the fact that he tore his ACL last season will be a factor. It will be tough for Sindelar to beat out the two more experienced quarterbacks on the roster, though he has a bright future in West Lafayette.
Appleby will likely be named the opening day starter and though Blough and Sindelar may have more of an upside, the Boilermakers should have much more success as a team if they can stick with just one starting quarterback in 2015.
Jason Shawley is a Featured Writer for RantSports.com covering Big Ten Football. Follow him on Twitter @jshawls.