Purdue signs tackle, reveals spring awards

Purdue on Monday bolstered its offensive line and announced its award winners for the spring session.

The Boilers signed tackle Matt Huene, who spent the past year at the U.S. Air Force Academy's prep school. He played for the Falcons' prep team, which plays top junior colleges, but decided to use his eligibility elsewhere and re-opened his recruitment. The 6-foot-6, 260-pound Huene was a standout lineman at Prospect High School in Mount Prospect, Ill., who battled back from a torn quadriceps in 2008 to play in 2009.

"We're excited to have Matt join us," Purdue coach Danny Hope said in a prepared statement. "We didn’t have a true offensive tackle talent sign with us back in February and he really fits the prototype at that position. He is also an excellent student. I’ve stated that I like to hold back a scholarship or two in the event an unsigned prospect comes along, and that is certainly the case with Matt."

Huene, who has four years of eligibility left, could enter the mix along the Boilers' line this season. Purdue returns both of its starting tackles (Dennis Kelly and Nick Mondek) but, like many teams, could use more depth up front.

Purdue also revealed its awards for spring practice.

Most improved (offense): QB Rob Henry, OT Justin Kitchens

Defensive MVP: LB Will Lucas, DT Kawann Short

Most improved (special teams): S Max Charlot

Newcomer: RB Akeem Shavers (offense), DE Ryan Russell (defense)

Pit Bull Award (player who exemplifies and sustains tenacity and intense play): RB Reggie Pegram (offense), S Albert Evans (defense)

Hammer Award (top hitter): S Logan Link (won for second straight spring)

Henry's inclusion is notable as he hopes to retain the starting job. Kitchens switched from the defene before the spring and appears to have made a smooth transition. This list also reveals the defensive playmakers Purdue will have in 2011. Players such as Lucas and Russell could play significant roles this fall.