The Boiling Point: Purdue’s Running Backs ranked 6th in conference.
ESPN Big Ten football blogger Brian Bennett came out with his rankings for running backs in the B1G. Purdue’s group came in at 6th in the conference. Considering our leading rushing last year was a quarterback (Rob Henry), and our two main running backs this year (Ralph Bolden and Akeem Shavers) didn’t play last year, this is a pretty favorable ranking. Bennett also says that ranking could improve during the season.
"6. Purdue: The Boilermakers’ stock in this chart could go up if Ralph Bolden successfully returns from injury. So far, so good for Bolden, who was a second-team All-Big Ten performer in 2009. Rob Henry led the team in rushing last year with 547 yards, but fullback Dan Dierking graduated. Junior college transfer Akeem Shavers got a lot of carries this spring and should contribute, and Reggie Pegram also is in the mix."
Individually Bolden was ranked at 7th in the conference. Probably would have been higher if he wasn’t coming off an injury.
"7. Ralph Bolden, Purdue, junior: A lot depends on how Bolden performs following a lengthy ACL rehab, but unlike some others on this list, he has proven himself as a featured back in the Big Ten. Bolden started all 12 games in 2009 and earned second-team All-Big Ten honors after finishing third in the league in rushing average (77.9 ypg) and second in rushing touchdowns (11). He also can be effective as a receiver after recording 20 receptions for 261 yards in 2009. Bolden fought back from an ACL injury in high school and performed well. Can he do it again?"
Let’s hope this group can live up to these rankings. Any pressure that can be taken off of a 1st yr starting QB (Henry) and another coming back from an ACL injury (Robert Marve) will be a bonus.