Shittah Sillah excited for Purdue's pass rush

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Though the Purdue defense finished third in the conference in sacks a season ago, the pass rush will look different this fall.

Nic Scourton, who led the Boilermakers with ten sacks, transferred to Texas A&M, and the second-leading sack artist, Kydran Jenkins, will slide to inside linebacker, though he will still rush the passer on third-down situations.

Boston College transfer Shittah Sillah enters as a prime candidate to take advantage of Purdue’s pass-rush-friendly defensive scheme. The sixth-year senior battled injuries throughout his five years in Chestnut Hill, but he hopes to make his final year of eligibility his finest.

The scheme, which is designed to get rushers one-on-one matchups on the outside, played a major role in Sillah’s choice of Purdue.

“When I came here, they welcomed me in. The scheme is great. I wanted to come somewhere for my last year where I could still develop and, at the same time, produce.”

He pointed to the production of Scourton and Jenkins as motivators, as well.

“Seeing what Nic and KJ did last year definitely influenced my decision. They had a hell of a year, and I feel like me and Will [Heldt], CJ [Madden], Jireh [Ojata] and DJ [Allen] could do the same thing,” Sillah said.

During his time as a Golden Eagle, Sillah racked up 80 tackles, including six-and-a-half sacks. He hopes that a change of scenery plus Purdue’s scheme can help unlock his potential.

“I feel like I’m very explosive,” Sillah said. “I can use my speed. I have very long arms, so I could go power, as well.”

While getting two rushers to combine for 17.5 sacks again this season could be a tall ask, Sillah feels confident in the options the Boilermakers have at their disposal.

After a strong showing in the spring game and flashes as a true freshman, Will Heldt looks primed for a significant role as a sophomore. Georgia transfer CJ Madden brings experience from one of the nation’s top defenses to West Lafayette.

“Will’s a great guy. He’s young, but he knows football. He played a bit last year, and he’s been helping us out getting adjusted,” Sillah said. “CJ came from Georgia. He knows a lot of football, and he played a little bit there.”

With spring practice in the rearview mirror, Sillah is settled on campus and developing under strength coach Kiero Small. When he returns to the practice field over the summer, he and the Boilermakers will look to continue building one of the conference’s top pass rushes.

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