Purdue football outside linebacker breakdown: Youth and experience

Lafayette Journal & Courier
WEST LAFAYETTE — Quarterbacks beware.
What Ryan Walters did with outside linebackers at Illinois had quarterbacks under duress and made the Illini one of the best defenses in college football.
Purdue football defensive coordinator Kevin Kane was along for the ride and now has been handed the keys to doing the same with the Boilermakers, using Walters' influence to hopefully produce similar results.
Top to bottom, outside linebacker might be Purdue football's most talented position.
Purdue football's linebacker experience
While the scheme was different last season and some will transition from a hand in the dirt, the outside linebacker crew has plenty who saw meaningful snaps last season.
Kydran Jenkins didn't practice in the spring, but is coming off a junior season where he had eight tackles for loss, four sacks and seven QB hurries.
"I'll be dropping (into coverage) a little more this year than last year," Jenkins said. "But mainly, I am really just getting after the quarterback more."
Aside from Jenkins, Khordae Sydnor, Nic Scourton (formerly Caraway) and Scotty Humpich combined for 60 tackles and 7.5 sacks last season.
"Coming out of the spring, we felt really good about that position," Kane said. "Coming into camp, with the addition of KJ coming back off of injury, he's shown to do what he did last year right now, so I am excited to see where he's at."
Youth movement
Don't get it wrong, Purdue has some experienced players at outside linebacker, but the Boilermakers also are set up for the future.
Humpich is a sixth year and Jenkins is a senior.
Other than that, there's sophomores Sydnor and Scourton, the star of Purdue's defense during spring camp, and freshmen Roman Pitre and Will Heldt, the Carmel native who has earned rave reviews even before his first collegiate snap.
Friendly competition
The players are being driven by each other.
Already there's been friendly smack talk amongst the group, mainly between Scourton and Jenkins.
"I'm going to get the first sack," Scourton said. "We've already talked about it. I'm going to have more sacks than him. I'm going to have more TFLs than him. And my celebrations are just going to be way cooler. I've just got more swag than KJ. Simple."
Joking aside, the group seems to fit the mold of what Kane wand Walters want in terms of pressuring opposing quarterbacks.
"They are edge setters and pass rushers first and they'll drop into coverage occasionally," Walters said. "Just the threat of (pass coverage). It's not their main motive of conduct. They've definitely got to be versatile and be stout setting the edge."

Latest Player Notes

How a Wisconsin legend got his German protégé into Badgers pro day

Mar 15, 2024 Marlon Werthmann put his life on hold for the opportunity in front of him Friday at the McClain Center.Werthmann ...

Why former Wisconsin football running back Braelon Allen didn't run the 40 at pro day

Mar 15, 2024 Braelon Allen’s sweat covered his shirt and dripped off his beard as he approached a group of reporters Friday.The ...

How can UW recruit its best class ever? It starts with these five prospects

By Andy Yamashita Seattle Times staff reporter Jedd Fisch has lofty recruiting goals at Washington. He didn’t waste any ...

Texas football kicks off spring practice Tuesday. We answer 24 questions for the 2024 team

Things certainly look fresh for the 2024 college football season, especially on the Texas campus.There’s a new conference ...

College Football Playoff: Conferences solve their differences (for now) and agree on general framework for 2026 and beyond

The FBS conferences and Notre Dame agreed on Friday to continue the College Football Playoff beyond the 2025 season, signing ...

Ball security, leadership key as Aztecs look to identify starting quarterback

San Diego State seemingly auditions a new starting quarterback on an annual basis.In the past 12 years, the Aztecs have opened ...

Results and more: A look at what happened at Penn State football’s Pro Day inside Holuba Hall

Most of those at Penn State’s Pro Day Friday were relatively quiet throughout the afternoon’s workouts, but there was one ...

Defense dominates first two weeks of Oregon State spring practice as Beavers ready for 2-week breather

CORVALLIS – Oregon State hit the break of spring practices Saturday, not exactly the midpoint but a good place to assess ...

Dillon Gabriel to have similar input, autonomy as Bo Nix had in Oregon’s offense

Published Mar. 16, 2024, 6:26 p.m.By James CrepeaEUGENE — Dillon Gabriel will have much of the same autonomy as Bo Nix did ...

Two transfers, one underclassman who impressed in Missouri football's spring game

With that, spring camp’s a wrap.Missouri football held its Black & Gold spring game Saturday in front of a healthy crowd ...
See More Player Notes