Five spring standouts

Purdue's spring drills have reached their midway point, and there has been plenty to digest. Boiler Sports Report gives a look at five Boilermakers who have impressed through the first seven spring practices.

Austin Appleby, quarterback—As Purdue's four quarterbacks slug it out, all eyes inside the Mollenkopf Center focus in. Each rep offers the chance to jockey up the depth chart and be "the guy" for Purdue. Fifth-year senior Rob Henry entered the spring as the frontrunner to win the job, being the only Boilermaker quarterback with experience, but it appears as if redshirt freshman Austin Appleby may have a chance to win the job.

Midway through the spring, Appleby has been extremely impressive, but also very consistent. His arm strength and accuracy have continued to improve and he appears more confident. In addition, the work put in with new quarterbacks coach John Shoop will only make him better in the long run.

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David Yancey, running back—The choice for David Yancey was to get on campus as quickly as possible and get to work. An early enrollee at Purdue, the freshman running back is making his presence known at the Boilermakers' spring drills.

Even as a newcomer, Yancey has shown the skills and sure-handedness of an upperclassman, which is a welcomed sight for the new Purdue coaching staff. At 5-foot-11 and 205 pounds, Yancey will only benefit from the training facilities and resources available on campus. It appears he made a very smart decision in arriving on campus early.

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Jason King, guard—The battle for playing time on the offensive line has been fun to follow. Thus far, it appears possible that as many as five redshirt freshmen could win a starting job. New offensive line coach Jim Bridge has worked to instill nastiness with his group, and the effort in each practice is evident. In a group that keeps showing signs of improvement, one of the spring's top performers has been Jason King.

Standing at 6-foot-4 and 305 pounds, King matches size with talent on the offensive line. This spring, he has been working in with the first-team offense, seeing reps at both left and right guard. There is plenty to be encouraged about from King's early effort.

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Sean Robinson, linebacker—Maybe it's just the grizzly beard, but converted quarterback Sean Robinson looks like the linebacker Purdue hoped he'd become. Now standing at 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, Robinson has size to go with his mobility.

Robinson has been all over the field in the spring, showing what great potential he has. The senior could be in for a big season. The early returns have been promising.

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Anthony Brown, defensive back—His first year on campus, Anthony Brown worked, he watched and he learned. Everything he gained during that time is paying off now. The Tampa, Fla. native may be in line for an important role with the Purdue defense thanks in part to what he has shown early in the spring.

Brown has tremendous athleticism but also appears to be more confident, even as a new defense is being installed. New defensive backs coach Jon Heacock has offered plenty of praise for Brown, too. Keep an eye on Anthony Brown in the second half of spring drills and beyond that.

Chris Emma has covered recruiting, college athletics and professional baseball for FOX Sports Next since 2009. Emma covered the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Northwestern Wildcats, and currently covers the Purdue Boilermakers. A Chicago native, he resides in West Lafayette.
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