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April 13, 2012

Hope 'very optimistic' Beckford will return

Following Purdue's final spring football practice Friday evening, Boilermaker coach Danny Hope certainly made it sound like suspended linebacker Dwayne Beckford will be back on the team for his senior season in 2012.

Beckford, suspended indefinitely prior to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in December following an arrest on suspicion of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, is taking classes elsewhere, presumably at Ivy Tech, working to get his grades in order, Hope said.

"I'm very optimistic about Dwayne Beckford," Hope said. "He's taking classes somewhere else and living here in town. He's not on scholarship, but he's working, paying his bills and he's (trying) to get himself eligible. When that happens, we're going to welcome him back to the football program.

"He's paid a heck of a price and I think he's learned a lot from it. He's six months away from graduating from Purdue and I have a good feeling Dwayne is going to be back."

Beckford's suspension came in response to a disciplinary matter. Last July, we was arrested on suspicion of hit and run and subsequently cited for possession of paraphernalia. He pleaded guilty to both charges and received probation.

Hope said Beckford's suspension has been the result of factors related to both conduct and academics.

"He's made some mistakes I know he regrets, but we're going to give him another chance," the coach said. "But he has to get himself eligible, pay his bills and take care of business first. It's a pretty simple thing."

Beckford has been Purdue's starting middle linebacker and would be the Boilermakers' top returning tackler after making 91 stops last season.

As for wide receiver O.J. Ross, who was briefly expelled from the team for what Hope called Friday "academic apathy," he is still working to cement on his place back on the team. Hope said Ross is no longer on scholarship while he, too, works to get his academic house in order.

"I'm proud of what he's done so far, but the grades aren't out yet," Hope said. "It looks like he's in good shape academically. It's the best he's ever done as a student in his life, this past semester."




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