football Edit

Weekend visit, opportunity sold new linebacker recruit on Purdue

More ($): Purdue covets length on defense

A few days after unofficially visiting Purdue for its home opener against Ohio, junior college linebacker Evander Craft committed to the Boilermakers Tuesday afternoon.

Craft had made his intentions known to his main recruiting contact, Nick Holt, this weekend, but formalized it with head coach Jeff Brohm Tuesday.

"What really sold me was just how I was treated when I was there, with the circumstances of it being a game day but they still found time to talk with me and my father," Craft said Tuesday night. "It was a great atmosphere."

The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder from the College of DuPage in Illinois had also been recruited by Iowa, Texas Tech and others, but Purdue got an early offer out to him after he attended a camp in July.

Purdue extended the early offer to get out in front of an urgent need as it will lose key defensive contributors Ja'Whaun Bentley, T.J. McCollum and Danny Ezechukwu from its linebackers corps after this season. Craft projects as an outside linebacker.

"I think my work ethic will help me," Craft said. "I'll work hard to be as ready as possible, to get stronger, and get my mind set and confidence to the point that I'm ready."

Craft, a native of the Milwaukee area, will graduate DuPage in May and move to Purdue this summer, with three years to play two seasons of eligibility.

He's slated to play outside linebacker.

Craft was offered a scholarship after he attended Purdue's final prospect camp session.

That day, he ran a 4.6ish 40-yard dash and seemingly impressed coaches with his size, length and range.

"I think what will define me (at the next level) will be my patience and ability to read things," Craft said. "I think I'll be able to locate the ball and not get caught up in blocks. I think once I get there and learn the playbook, I'll be able to play fast and do my thing.

"I think I'm definitely an out-in-space sort of (linebacker). Just my length makes it a lot easier for me to get from Point A to Point B, to move literally or get to wherever I need to be. I don't know if I'd consider myself a hard run-stopper because I don't usually play in the box. I think I'm better at getting to the quarterback, playing in space and being in coverage."

Craft is Purdue's 22nd verbal commitment for its 2018 recruiting class and joins Illinois' Jaylan Alexander among those slated for linebacker.

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