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.
Clardie's last pick rounds out the defense.
Draft ticker: Nos. 1-97
Joe Holland had the fourth-most career tackles of any guy in our 20-year player pool — a whopping 324 — and I needed a third linebacker to have some flexibility with my defense, even though I like the nickel as the primary one.
Holland came to Purdue as a safety but moved to linebacker in his second fall camp and not only stuck but quickly became counted on. He started 48 career games — for the non-mathletes, that's four years — and rarely even took a play off. He led the team in tackles in 2011 with 94. Though he wasn't the most athletic or physical player, he was a consistent presence who played with every ounce of energy and passion he had.
Holland's makeup as a player probably was even more impressive than the production. He was incredibly intelligent — we're talking high-level scholar here — and that showed up on the field with an ability to diagnose plays and a willingness to help teammates do the same. He was a ridiculously hard worker. He loved football — as evidenced by continuing to play special teams despite logging so many snaps on defense. He cared about his teammates, who selected him as a captain.
Holland was by no means a perfect player, and his weaknesses on the field got exposed at times. But in terms of total package — a tough, durable player with production who exemplified what a student-athlete should be — Holland is the man.
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