Position Capsule: Secondary

Purdue's secondary features veteran leadership and young talent. Boiler Sports Report gives a detailed look at the unit.

Where they stand: This spring, the secondary established its physical, ball-hawking identity—exactly the goal of new defensive backs coach Jon Heacock. Along the way, it wasn't perfect at times, but there are many reasons to be encouraged. Before each scrimmage, the leaders of the unit—usually Landon Feichter—would set goals for forcing turnovers. The players were aiming for interception and strips in each play.

Several spots are a lock in the secondary. Landon Feichter and Taylor Richards will man the two safety positions while Ricardo Allen will stay at his spot at cornerback. With the departure of Josh Johnson, the position opposite of Allen is up for the taking, as are nickelback roles, too. Frankie Williams and Normondo Harris are favorites to win either of these jobs. Another name to watch is Anthony Brown, the redshirt freshman who made some strides this spring.

Biggest Riser: Frankie Williams put together a productive spring, and that's just what he needed to do. In a solid first year on the field, Williams showed he has the potential to be a talented player. Williams is a skillful player with quick feet and good hands, and appears to be in good position for playing time this season.

Needs a big summer: Normondo Harris played in just five games last season, making eight tackles. His increased role during spring drills reflected his potential for a big senior season. Harris is hoping to win over a starting role at cornerback, and a solid spring may help him toward that; however, Harris needs to have an impressive summer to lock down a job.

Quote to note: "There's still a ways to go yet. It's still a learning process. Sometimes, we get stuck trying to think too much and not play, but that'll come. Overall, I've been very encouraged by what they're doing." –Purdue defensive backs coach Jon Heacock evaluating his unit.

Prediction: I do believe the secondary may be one of Purdue's greatest strengths. With veteran leadership and some young talent, the group will come together under experienced coach Jon Heacock. It'll likely be Feichter, Richards and Allen on the field, but I also believe Anthony Brown will be seeing some playing time. There's a lot to like about his game and he proved to be valuable this spring. We'll learn a lot more about this exciting unit during the summer.

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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