Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing in at 225 pounds, Cole Herdman's prototypical size, knowledge of the game and rare athleticism make him one of the most interesting new members of the Purdue Boilermaker family.
In high school, Herdman was effective in all phases of the game. At tight end, Herdman feels most productive in the passing game, but also grew as a blocker, protecting a young quaterback his senior year. When the offense left the field, Herdman would stay in as middle linebacker and punter.
Herman will make a home at tight end with Purdue, where the Boilermakers hope he can produce in their offense.
"Right now, tight end is where I want to play,” Herdman said. “But if coaches need me at linebacker or punter, I'll play."
Not only does Herdman have the size and skills to make an immediate impact on the offense, but also brings a unique understanding to the position and how defenses will try to stop him.
"When I played inside linebacker, I always keyed on the tight ends." Herdman said.
Herdman feels his understanding of defensive schemes, speed, and footwork will help him get behind the defense translate into touchdowns. After watching a few minutes of highlight film and taking a look at last year's red zone targets to the tight end position, it’s hard to argue otherwise.
"I model my game after guys like Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates,” Herdman said. “I want to be known as a red zone threat."
Herdman has already began putting in the work that will pave his way on the road to becoming Purdue's top red zone threat.
"Right now, I am working on my speed, footwork, and hitting the weight room to prepare for the summer,” he said.
Although his current focus is on finishing his senior year, and preparing to become a Boilermaker, Herdman did say that his "ultimate goal is to play at the pro level."
So far, he is taking the right approach.