CHICAGO – For the first time in several years, Purdue enters 2019 with its quarterback situation seemingly settled. With David Blough graduated and on to the NFL, fifth-year senior Elijah Sindelar is ready to step in and lead the Boilermakers' offense.
Purdue coach Jeff Brohm confirmed Friday at Big Ten Media Days that Sindelar will be the starter and redshirt freshman Jack Plummer is likely backup.
Wide receiver Rondale Moore, who will likely be Sindelar's top target, said he's confident that the new quarterback, who has already started nine games as a Boilermaker, can lead Purdue to victories.
“At the end of the day, the goal is to win,” Moore said. “Elijah has all the tools to do so. He has a strong arm, he's a taller guy. I think he has everything he needs to fulfill that role.”
Sindelar has had knee issues in the past; he famously played on a torn ACL in the final stretch of the 2017 season and hyperextended the same knee in spring practice this season, causing him to miss the spring game. Brohm said the coaches will manage what Sindelar does in practice to make sure he makes it to games “fresh and ready to go.”
Freshmen to play
The 2019 Purdue recruiting class was the first top 25 group since the Joe Tiller era as Brohm capitalized off the excitement his first two seasons with the Boilermakers have generated.
The Boilers are a young team – they have only eight seniors on the roster – and Brohm said that he expects some of the true freshmen to see the field right away, including top recruits David Bell, a four-star wide receiver from Indianapolis, and George Karlaftis, a four-star defensive lineman from West Lafayette.
Bell is an “outstanding talent,” according to Brohm and could start for Purdue, while Karlaftis was “probably our best player on defense all spring.”
Several of Purdue's best returning defensive players, including Cornel Jones, Lorenzo Neal and Markus Bailey, missed the spring while recovering from injuries, but Brohm has clearly been impressed with Karlaftis.
In the NCAA's quest to make a violent game marginally more safe, college football's governing body approved slight tweaks to the targeting rule that will go in effect this season. Calling penalties for targeting is meant to prevent the most vicious and dangerous hits.
As Bill Carollo, Big Ten coordinator of officials, explained, the changes to the rule are twofold. First, there will no longer be any “stands” call following a replay for targeting. If the entire call, which results in the penalized player being ejected, is not confirmed by replay, then it will be overturned and the player will be allowed to stay in the game.
Second, if a player commits three confirmed targeting penalties in one season, he will not only be ejected from the game in which he commits the third penalty, he will also be suspended from the next game.