Purdue celebrated some optimistic news last week as its top wide receiver from 2014 appears to be ahead of schedule with his recovery from an ACL tear he suffered in the middle of the season.
According to the Lafayette Journal & Courier, Danny Anthrop is on track to suit up for the Boilermakers in his senior season with the wide out saying he could return to the practice field as early as May.
The promising update is a huge boost for a team that will be desperate for offensive playmakers in 2015. With versatile backs Akeem Hunt and Raheem Mostert graduating and receiver B.J. Knauf stepping away from the program due to multiple injuries sustained throughout his career, the Boilermakers will need a dependable weapon to keep the chains moving.
Anthrop could be that threat for Purdue next season.
Last season, Anthrop was the leading receiver for the Boilermakers, catching 38 passes for 616 yards and four touchdowns in nine games. His impact was bigger than just in statistical categories, though. Before suffering a season-ending injury in the fourth quarter against Nebraska, Anthrop was a major component for the offense.
With the receiver on the field, Purdue averaged nearly 27 points per game and 360 yards of total offense. In the final three games of the season, with Anthrop on the sideline, Purdue averaged just 15 points per game and eclipsed more than 350 total yards only once.
Two of the final three opponents were Northwestern (5-7) and Indiana (4-8).
Purdue is recovering from a pair of dismal seasons that have culminated in a 4-20 record with just one conference win in the past two seasons. With Darrell Hazell’s seat starting to warm up a little bit and the departure of some of their top players, the Boilermakers need Anthrop to be effective on the field in order to be successful.
Not only was the junior the team leader in reception yardage a year ago, he was the top guy by more than 300 yards. He created several big plays for Purdue as well, recording touchdown receptions of 44, 55 and 80 yards, most of which were accumulated after the catch.
It was clear that the Boilers’ offense was much more in-tune with Anthrop on the field. His speed was a consistent threat to opposing defenses, and his presence allowed other receivers to open up and the run game to be more effective.
Hazell and Purdue still have plenty of work ahead if the Boilermakers are to get the ship headed in the right direction, and Anthrop’s recovery and presence won’t guarantee an improvement in the 2015 record. But, the offense will run much smoother with him on the field.
There won’t be much time to waste, either, with the Boilermakers traveling to Marshall in the season-opener to take on college football’s third-most prolific offense from last year.
Anthrop has all the tools to be one of the top receivers in the Big Ten in his final season with the black and gold, and Purdue is hopeful that Anthrop’s full recovery will be as speedy as the receiver himself.