GoldandBlack.com's 20-year player draft ticker:
GoldandBlack.com staff is making its decisions about Purdue's best players since 1997 with a 20-year player draft that'll run through July.
In conjunction with the draft, we also will check in with former Boilermakers to get their perspectives on the best players they played with during their careers. They offer up behind-the-scenes looks at intense work ethics, how players got the most out of their teammates and even reflect on funny stories during their days together.
Next up quarterback Joey Elliott, who had one full season as a starting quarterback in 2009 as a senior, as told to Stacy Clardie:
"I had three guys who were easy, no-brainers, game-changers, in my opinion, that the occasion and the moment was never too big for these three types of guys. You watch their careers and it was definitely up with all three of these guys, Anthony Spencer, Rob Ninkovich and Ryan Kerrigan.
"For Rob, he wasn’t there very long, didn’t play too much, but every time he did step on the field, he got better each week. You just saw this progression. With Rob, he was more of a leader. He actually was one of my OLS leadership advisors. He was a guy you could definitely tell was a leader first and would do anything for the team. He was a backup, and I think he set the sack record, I think, against Indiana. I think he had (four) that game. But just his ability to adapt and wherever they needed him, he played. That’s kind of been his NFL career, too. The Patriots have been able to move him multiple positions. He gains weight, loses weight. He’s just a really good football player. That goes back to his character and who he is as a person.
"Anthony Spencer, you could just tell he had game-changing ability. If I remember correctly when I was on the sideline watching him, he was almost every third down, any time we needed a play, Anthony Spencer was there. Any time we needed a sack-fumble. Any time we needed to switch the momentum and get the momentum back in our favor, Anthony Spencer was definitely one of those guys. He was a really well-liked person in the locker room, always came back after he was drafted and definitely helped Purdue in recruiting and just a good name from Indiana to be around the program.
"Ryan Kerrigan, he was a really close teammate with myself and and the class below me, but his game was very similar to the way he lifts weights. Every time he was in the weight room with Coach Lathrop and he added another plate on the bar, the bar always moved. Didn’t matter how much. He had to just eventually stop because he just kept moving weight. It was very similar to his ability to play football. His junior year was really good and I remember his senior year vs. Michigan, it was an outstanding performance. I think he had 10 tackles, three sacks, it was insane, it just changed the game. Every time he came off the edge, they were trying to double-team him, triple-team him and he still was so relentless in his work ethic. That just goes to show how good people have to be to play at that next level.
"The last guy I had was Jaycen Taylor. He’s an interesting pick, in my opinion, but I like him a lot. Because we don’t win two years my senior year without Jaycen Taylor. Ralph Bolden gets hurt, and everybody knows, he had a breakout year because our offense had a breakout year. With Keith Smith having a lot of yards and Aaron Valentin with a new offensive line. If Ralph comes back and rushes vs. IU, we make Purdue history, first time having a 1,000-yard rusher, 1,000-yard receiver and 3,000-yard passer. I don’t think Brees, Orton or anybody has done that. Ralph just wasn’t able to be healthy the last game. Jaycen, I think, accounted for half our total offense against IU. He put us on his back and carried us. Vs. Illinois, they were playing a lot of Cover 2 and not wanting us to throw the ball, and we were able to run power left and right. Jaycen had a heck of a game. We don’t beat Illinois and we don’t beat IU my senior year without Jaycen Taylor running the football. The guy did everything on special teams. He came in and worked. He was a senior with basically a sophomore playing in front of him, kept a good attitude. He was a locker room guy. He had great hands out of the backfield. That’s why he’s close to my mind. He’s not, obviously, the same type of game-changing player (as the other picks), but I know for sure we don’t win two games without that guy that senior year. I think he deserves some credit for that and just what he stood for in the program. He paved the way for Ralph. Ralph was young, inexperienced, didn’t know how to practice, and Jaycen just showed him the way. Ralph obviously had the athletic ability and the speed, so they were a 1-2 punch. Ralph didn’t learn how to run between the tackles like Jaycen could, and that’s why vs. Illinois Jaycen had more carries than Ralph because he could run between the tackles with a thinner frame. He wasn’t afraid to stick it up in there."
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