WEST LAFAYETTE -- Darrell Hazell has a positive outlook on the 2014 recruiting class after National Singing Day. Hazell hoped to add toughness to the team.
“Anytime you’re trying to build a program, you’ve got to have guys that can fight through a little adversity, that are not only physically tough but mentally tough,” Hazell said. “You’ve got to recruit toughness to your program.”
Toughness is not the only thing Hazell wants to add to the team. Competition is another aspect Hazell wants to create.
"You want to get guys in here right away that can compete,” Hazell said. “We’re going to have to make some decisions during camp next year to see who can win football games."
Hazell adds that although the team is going to struggle in the spring, they will be ready in the fall. He believes creating competition with the new recruits will improve the players’ performance.
"These guys have changed and they know what they have to do,” Hazell said. “But they’re going to get a run from the guys that we’ve signed. That’s what we want."
According to Hazell, adding starters at tackle is competition in itself.
"There’s a definite deficiency at the offensive tackle position,” Hazell said. “It’ll be interesting this spring to see how we manipulate and manage it. But these guys will have the chance on day one to compete for a spot."
Along with the starters at tackle, Hazell discussed what he likes about the linebackers.
"You flip the film on for the fourth or fifth time and it keeps getting better and better and better, “ Hazell said.
Punter Austin McGehee is another advantage the recruiting class brought in. He’ll likely serve as a jack of all trades for the Boilermakers, working in all three phases of special teams. One of the most important additions to the Purdue program, McGehee will be an immediate contributor.
"Bringing [McGehee] in here is going to be a big asset for us,” Hazell said. “He’s definitely working on all three phases.”
Most importantly for a Purdue team that lost the battle in the trenches far too often, the 2014 recruiting class also brings in size. Hazell states that size is significant to the team.
"That’s one of the emphases that we had,” he said, “was to become Big Ten big.”