Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports
Taylor Richards has made an impact for Purdue with his knack for the big play.
Russell has continued making a case this season for his inclusion in the “Den of Defensive Ends,” an honor he’s been eyeing since he first got to Purdue.
His stats during his first two seasons mark a striking resemblance to a Purdue legend’s first two seasons: Ryan Kerrigan.
But without Kawann Short, a second-round selection in the 2013 NFL Draft, by his side this season, the expectations were that Russell would struggle to put up the same type of statistics this season.
But Russell has continued to be on a tear, keeping pace with Ryan Kerrigan during his junior year.
In a starring performance against the Fighting Irish, Knauf was able to nab four catches for 51 yards, including a nifty 18-yard touchdown reception.
However, he hasn’t been able to produce more than one catch in any other game this season.
But Knauf has been a major contributor in other facets of the game and has shown off his versatility, most notably as a runner.
With the depth at receiver this season, Knauf’s emergence as an offensive weapon has been a pleasant surprise.
Richards has stepped up as a leader for the Purdue defensive this season and has had a variety of big plays to his credit already.
Richards provided a big forced fumble in the Notre Dame game that gave the offense a chance to tie the score up late (although they failed to convert).
He has already earned the admiration of his teammates and has been trying to earn the same amount of respect from the new coaching staff.
Ricardo Allen, for one, has sung Richards’ praises to anyone who will listen.
“Not too many people knew about him going into this year,” Boilermakers senior cornerback Ricardo Allen said, according to Nathan Baird of JCOnline. “I feel like he’s a star on people’s playbooks now. Once you go scout Purdue, you scout the secondary, you’re going to scout Taylor Richards.”
Richards has already piled up 24 tackles in only four games this season.