There will be few more exciting times in the lives of Purdue's incoming freshman football and basketball players than this summer, as they prepare to move on to college.
This spring and summer, GoldandBlack.com is catching up with those new Boilermakers to discuss it in our new "Entrance Interview" series.
Today, we catch up with offensive lineman Jordan Roos, who is recovering from an ACL injury that cut short his senior season but is participating in track and field, where he's a state champion in Celina, Texas.
GoldandBlack.com: Are you healthy enough to be doing track this spring?
Roos: "I am. I won our district meet and regionals, and now I'm going to state, going for the three-peat in the shot and hopefully I can win the discus too."
GoldandBlack.com: What have you finished in discus previously?
Roos: "I didn't make it the past three years - I made it to regionals - but I threw a 184 (feet) recently in the disc, and 192 is my goal in the disc (at the state meet), and anything over 64 in the shot would be great."
GoldandBlack.com: Has it been nice to be out competing again? I'd imagine so.
Roos: "It's humbling. It was tough not being able to play the rest of my senior season, but everything happens for a reason. I'll be better because of it."
GoldandBlack.com: You must be doing pretty well physically to be able to compete in track.
Roos: "I would have rather been 100-percent for track, but it's kind of the same thing as being injured, you appreciate it more when you are healthy. I'm about 50-percent on the leg part, strength-wise. If I was 100-percent, there's no telling how I'd be feeling right now. But to be out there, and I'm No. 4 in the state in discus and No. 2 in the shot. Hopefully by the end of it I'll be No. 1 in the shot."
GoldandBlack.com: That's pretty impress to do that well, if you're only 50-percent in leg strength. It seems like you need good strength, agility, etc. for those events.
Roos: "You can't just be strong, you've got to have good explosion in your hips and good footwork. I have a good enough base where I can come in and not use my legs and just use my upper-body and still throw farther than I threw last year. I really worked hard on getting my upper-body strength to where it was, actually better than where it was before I got hurt. And on top on that, I've been rehabbing my knee for like five months now and then two months before surgery; we did like a pre-hab thing to get all the swelling out of my knee. So it's been a seven-month process of physical therapy, which has been excruciating. But going through that made me a lot tougher. I'm ready to get out there and play football, get after it and show everybody what I got."
GoldandBlack.com: Has the goal of being able to participate in track sped up your rehab?
Roos: "Definitely. When I tore my ACL, I didn't think there was any way I'd be back for track. At the beginning, at the start of track season, I was just standing there. I threw like 53 feet, just by standing there, then one week I decided that I'd slowing start throwing, and I started throwing discus all the way, and it slowly got to the point I could do it without my knee hurting, or feeling vulnerable. Most of it was mental, just because when you hurt your knee you don't want to re-hurt it. You don't want anyone touching anything. That was tough, but track definitely sped up my recovery process and the fact that I want to play as soon as I can at Purdue, that did too."
GoldandBlack.com: Despite the injury, how close are you to personal records?
Roos: "I broke both of them, the shot and the discus."
GoldandBlack.com: Well, that's impressive.
Roos: "That's pretty crazy."
GoldandBlack.com: What are you most excited for about college?
Roos: "I'm just excited about the lifting, and just getting on a training regimen that I'll not only be forced to stick, but I'll want to stick to. It's hard in high school, I think, just staying on it nutritional-wise and staying hungry in the weight room, when you're already stronger than everybody at your school. I'm excited to get around some big strong people and compete in the weight room and on the football field and in the classroom. The competition part I'm really excited about."
GoldandBlack.com: What are you most nervous about?
Roos: "I don't want to hurt my knee again. But you can't play scared because that's when you can hurt yourself again. Probably the academic part, I don't really know all that works. High school is a cakewalk compared to college.
"I'm not saying I'm dumb or anything, but I think it will be a hard transition. But I'm glad I'm doing it during the summer, so I'll have a good enough base so that when school rolls around it won't be a problem."
GoldandBlack.com: I'd imagine this will be the farther you've been away from family. Will that be a challenge?
Roos: "Yeah, I'm really close to my family, but my family is crazy and they'll make it to all my sporting events. And (the move) being in the summer too is going to help, I might be able to go home, or they'll come to see me. My two little sisters and my older sister, too."
GoldandBlack.com: What are your expectations for your freshman season?
Roos: "I'm going to do whatever takes to get on the field and give myself the best opportunity to play as a true freshman. That's probably always been my goal. My eighth grade year, I didn't play because I broke my foot, and I went to play at high school - where we've won eight state championships - and I played my freshman year on the offensive line. I was the first person to do that in our school history, so I feel like I've been there before injury-wise and having to come back. I know I'll be ready when it comes around. I'm not saying anything's going to be given to me, but I'm definitely going to try my hardest to get on the field."
GoldandBlack.com: Will it be difficult if Purdue redshirts you, considering you missed much of last year with the injury?
Roos: "I want to make it so they can't redshirt me. If I bust my tail and do everything right, I don't think I will be redshirted. I guess I really haven't thought about that whole part, how I would handle that."
GoldandBlack.com: What will be the biggest on-field adjustment?
Roos: "Probably the speed of the game. I feel like strength-wise I'll be OK. But it's about how well my knee comes along.
I think I'll be pretty well ready when camp rolls around."
GoldandBlack.com: When will you arrive at Purdue?
Roos: June 9
GoldandBlack.com: When do you graduate from high school?
Roos: May 31
GoldandBlack.com: Are you looking forward to graduation?
Roos: "Yeah, you know, in a sense I'm ready to head out and move on. I didn't think the last year, I'd get not seniority but that I'd miss this place, but I will. But I'm surely excited about Purdue. I'm ready to graduate and move on to Purdue and get strong and give myself the best opportunity to play."
GoldandBlack.com: Is your biggest goal this summer to continue to rehab, and build back up your lower-body strength?
Roos: "Yeah. My No. 1 goal is when I go home people will think 'What the heck happened to this kid?' I'm at about 312 right now and I want to get down to 300 and less than 18 or 19 percent body fat, that's my goal. I'm at 22-something right now."
GoldandBlack.com: What jersey number do you want to wear?
GoldandBlack.com: Do you have to submit a list of requests, or is that the number?
Roos: "Coach (Shawn) Clark says he does the numbers, so we got that handled a long time ago."
GoldandBlack.com: Why 70?
Roos: "I was a different number in like pee-wee and middle school and all that stuff, and in high school, someone else had (that number). So I thought 70 had a nice ring to it, and I like the way it looks on a jersey. I've been that for four years and I like the number."
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