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May 12, 2010

Siller returns

Although it's been widely speculated for months, it's now official, as Justin Siller has been reinstated by Purdue.

The former - and now current - Boilermaker will be back on the field for the Boilermakers in the fall, after serving his one-year University-imposed suspension following an act of academic malfeasance in 2009.

Siller, a running back and quarterback in his first stint with the Boilermakers, attended classes at nearby Ivy Tech Community College to keep up his academics while away from Purdue. It's unknown what position he will play once he returns, although wide receiver, Wildcat quarterback and/or running back are possibilities. But where ever he returns - Siller will wear No. 2 after donning 5 from 2007-08 - he'll likely boost a Purdue offense already thought to have multiple weapons offensively. He'll have two years of eligibility remaining.

"If he's anywhere near where he was a year ago, he's very good, very good," Coach Danny Hope said. "He could be a special player for us, I don't have any question about that. He can really catch and really run and make people miss."

In March of 2009, Siller was dismissed from school through the '09-10 academic year for a violation of school policy. At the time, Hope said that Siller had made a mistake, but would accept the penalty and would be welcomed back to the football program after his suspension was served.

That day has come.

"We're really excited about it and very happy for Justin," Hope said. "It's a huge lift to our football team from a personnel standpoint, but we're especially happy for Justin.

"How he handled the whole thing, I think, really showed a lot of class on his part. He could have quit and gone somewhere else, but he really wanted to be at Purdue. He accepted responsibility for his action, went to a different school nearby. He paid to go to school, and also worked here at Purdue some as part of the maintenance crew. It really showed that he wanted to be here. He paid a heck of a price and kept his grades up.

"He showed a lot of class and a lot of want-to and we're very, very proud of him."

Siller, a former three-star prospect from Detroit, burst onto the Boilermaker scene in 2008. After converting to running back during training camp, the 6-foot-4, 220-pounder was switched back to QB following injuries to Curtis Painter and Joey Elliott.

He made three starts at quarterback, throwing for nearly 500 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. He also had 167 yards rushing.

In Siller's first career start, he passed for a career-high 266 yards with three touchdowns and 77 yards rushing vs. Michigan. After, he was named Big Ten Co-Offensive Player-of-the-Week, as Purdue won 48-42.

"It feels great to be back," said Siller, who, according to the release, will not be available for further comment 'til training camp. "My goal all along was to come back. Even though I was away from the team, I always felt as though I was still part of the program. It was tough sitting out last season, but I learned a valuable lesson. I am proud of the way my teammates overcame some tough early losses last season and won some big games. I am so excited to get back on the field and learn the offense."

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