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Ryan Walters readies for opening of transfer portal

On3 imageby:Tom Dienhart04/15/24

TomDienhart1 Video: Ryan Walters, Spring Game - Sd 480p

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Brace yourself: The transfer portal opens this week. Ryan Walters is ready.

The second-year Purdue coach no doubt has some holes he’d like to fill on his roster now that he’s getting a good look at his team in spring football, which wraps up this week with practices on Tuesday and Thursday after playing a spring game yesterday.

Without a doubt, Purdue will be looking for a punter and long-snapper. As for other needs? The program could be in the market for a rush end, star (CB/S), tight end, defensive lineman and maybe a running back.

In addition to adding players, Walters also anticipates some current players (four or five, perhaps?) on his roster jumping into the portal when it opens for 15 days on Tuesday (April 16-30).

“Who knows, right?” said Walters. “It’s like Wall Street, right? You just kind of gotta go with the market. I’m sure we’ll get surprised and have some guys enter the portal that we didn’t anticipate. And I’m sure everyone across the country is thinking the same thing.

“I do like our locker room right now. And I feel like we’ve got a good grasp on who everybody is and what people’s roles are. I think the locker room likes being here and likes the way the program is structured. But, you know, who knows?”

Purdue added 14 scholarship players from the portal when it was open for 30 days from December-January. Several of those look primed to play big roles this fall, including rush ends C.J. Madden and Shitta Sillah, wideouts C.J. Smith, De’Nylon Morrissette and Kam Brown, offensive linemen Corey Stewart and DJ Wingfield, running back Reggie Love and cornerbacks Nyland Green and Kyndrich Breelove, among others.

“Night and day,” said Walters when asked to describe how his program is different from this time last year to now. “I think the biggest difference from a mental makeup standpoint is just there’s no egos. There aren’t any selfish individuals and everybody understands what we’re trying to get accomplished and works their tail off to get that done.

“We also just have a lot more depth. We’ve gotten bigger, stronger, gotten faster. And the standard is a lot higher than it was a year ago.”

When the portal was open in the winter, the Boilermakers saw 23 scholarship players jump in, including stalwarts like WR Deion Burks and OLB Nic Scourton.

If players opt to leave, Walters understands.

“This is a different day and age and you can’t take things personal when people decide to make decisions that they feel are in the best interest of themselves,” said Walters. “You just got to be able to adapt and adjust to the landscape, and we’ll be ready for whatever transpires and we’ll take advantage of the rules and make sure that we’re putting together the best roster possible to go chase a championship come fall.”

How does Walters–coming off a 4-8 debut–deal with his players when it comes to the portal?

“We are just transparent, open and honest,” said Walters. “I’m an open book. I’m not trying to hide anything. So, very candid conversations and I think as long as you’re operating in truth and transparency, you can live with whatever decisions are made.”

Walters is braced for surprises that may come in portal season. Does his heart sink when a player asks to speak with him in his office?

“It depends on what player, right?” said Walters. “I think a year ago, I was a little anxious about this time of year and what potentially could happen. But now, being just inundated with the program and with the landscape, it is what it is, and we’ll be fine. Purdue will be fine.

“So, we got a lot of people that care about the place that help the cause in terms of donating to the collective (Boilermaker Alliance). We still need guys to donate and I think that’ll happen and so I feel good about where we’re at and where we’re headed.”

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