We're looking this week at an area of need for each Big Ten team, and how the 2016 recruiting class can help with the problem. Next up is Purdue.
Biggest need for 2016: Secondary
Purdue endured a few struggles with pass defense last season, allowing 36.5 points per game and 243 yards through the air. For better or worse, the Boilermakers return much of their defense in 2016 for new coordinator Ross Els, though not in the secondary.
Gone are cornerbacks Anthony Brown and Frankie Williams, who combined for seven interceptions. Both seniors served as legitimate playmakers, so the Boilermakers must look next season for even more from safety Leroy Clark. He led Purdue with 88 tackles as a junior. Robert Gregory and Brandon Roberts also return at safety.
Purdue needs help at cornerback. Myles Norwood and Da'Wan Hunte gained experience last season as sophomores. Opportunities will arrive in the spring for youngsters Evyn Cooper and David Rose, who ran into trouble off the field last year, and Mike Little, among others.
How the 2016 recruiting class can help: Purdue needs help in the secondary after losing a few players, and this 2016 class could provide some help within that position group.
Kamal Hardy is a three-star junior college prospect from Monroe College in Florida, and could provide immediate assistance. At 6-foot, 185 pounds, Monroe has good size and college experience, which is what the Boilermakers need.
Outside of Hardy, the staff has also landed commitments from safety Navon Mosley from Michigan, Brandon Shuman out of Florida and Josh Hayes from Indiana. Athlete Jackson Anthrop could end up playing a few different positions, so a potential move to safety isn't out of the question if the help is needed.
The most notable stat from those prospects is the size. Most are 5-foot-11 or taller and should provide for competition within the secondary. Hardy seems to be the most likely to see the field next season, but any help is welcomed. -- Tom VanHaaren