To help commemorate the 20-year anniversary of Purdue's magical turnaround 1997 season, GoldandBlack.com's staff will break up the rosters and select the best players to wear a Boilermaker uniform since Coach Joe Tiller's first season on the sidelines.
GoldandBlack.com's 20-year Purdue player draft will have 100 players chosen — two picks each weekday over 10 weeks. Boilermakers who were on Purdue rosters between 1997-2017 are eligible for selection. The draft order is Alan Karpick, Stacy Clardie, Kyle Charters and Brian Neubert.
The one-deeps are filled, but now we are on to the final three picks of fill-ins...Though this guy was hardly a fill-in.
Draft ticker: Nos. 1-88
The just didn't come any tougher than Billy Dicken.
And his career couldn't have come to a more fitting close, then what the Illinois native put together for the 1997.
Let's look back. Dicken suffers a throwing (right) shoulder injury in the IU game of his freshman season. The next year, without being able to throw, he fills in and does a capable job in Coach Jim Colletto's defensive secondary. In his junior year of 1996, he moves back to quarterback, and breaks his sternum, ... yes his sternum and yes he kept on playing after the injury ... in the West Virginia game and is out for the season.
Then Colletto resigns and enter Joe Tiller for the '97 season. In spring ball of '97, Dicken plays "awful" as he said in an interview last week, and John Reeves is the starter. But, Dicken rises again, winning the job in fall camp. Nine wins and a first team All-Big Ten selection later, Dicken ends his Purdue career with an MVP (offensive) selection in Purdue's 33-20 win over Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl.
But why did I take him? Well, he gives me pretty good insurance if my quarterback Drew Brees goes down, but he also is the ultimate utility player. He could play defense and with his athleticism would give me a boost just about any place I put him.
Heck, he came to Purdue to play baseball too, though the shoulder injury pretty much eliminated that. But he would be a good addition to our softball team, too. Dicken could do just about anything athletically.
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