Blough's unique path to Purdue

David Blough made it official on Saturday, becoming the fourth member of Purdue's 2014 recruiting class. His path to Purdue brought a unique parallel to one of the Boilermakers' all-time greats.

Was it fate, or just a crazy coincidence created by Trent Dilfer? Either way, the path which led David Blough to Purdue is special.

In early May, Blough dazzled at the Elite 11 tryout camp in Chicago, proving he is one of the nation's best quarterback prospects. Dilfer, the former NFL quarterback and current television analyst helps run the Elite 11 camp. He enlisted the help of a good friend to make Blough's camp invitation memorable.

Dilfer saw similarities between Blough and Drew Brees, the New Orleans Saints' Super Bowl-winning quarterback. Both are from Texas, saw little action in their recruitments and have parallels in their games. That's just the beginning of it.

Just two days later, Blough received his first scholarship offer. It came from Purdue, the same school which took a shot on another under-recruited Texas quarterback. Then, it began to hit Blough—the Brees coincidence was significant.

"It means so much," Blough said at the time, asked about the Brees similarities. "He's from Austin and all these Texas schools kind of passed on him. They saw the 6-foot kid in him. These Texas schools passed on him, but Purdue showed faith in him. Drew Brees is the best at his craft and that's somebody I definitely look up to."

Even after Blough won an Elite 11 invitation—cementing his spot as one of the best—only Memphis joined his list of offers. Blough's name remained a secret to most, but the Purdue coaches desperately wanted him.

It seemed too perfect, and even Blough recognized that. He was ready to commit on the spot, but held off until he could visit campus for the first time. Still, Purdue was on his mind for the five weeks which seemed to last an eternity. It was hard to resist.

This past weekend, Blough traveled to West Lafayette with his mother, LuAnn. With the care they received, both immediately felt comfortable with Purdue. For David, that proved the one thing he was wondering: is Purdue a place he felt happy at? He quickly learned the answer is yes.

"They're going to take care of me and it'll be a home away from home," Blough said.

While on campus, Blough learned of the Purdue "Cradle of Quarterbacks" tradition, which includes names like Brees, Bob Griese, Gary Danielson and Kyle Orton. It was something he felt compelled to join.

"They did it through hard work and leadership, and there's not a better example to follow," said Blough. "Those guys were in our shoes, and they made it. That's how all of us want to be."

Blough participated in Purdue's Elite Camp on Friday night, then spent all of Saturday touring campus and meeting the team. By the time he sat down in Darrell Hazell's office on Saturday afternoon, there were no doubts.

Hazell sat down at his desk, dressed in his usual game vest-jacket after coaching a youth camp. Blough had a surprise for the first-year head coach.

More than 48 hours later, Blough still remembers the exact words he spoke to give his verbal commitment. He said: "Coach Hazell, I like the jacket. You're going to tell me where the bookstore is so I can have some stuff for Signing Day next year."

Just like that, Blough found his future home and the Boilermakers got the quarterback they believe can be the next Drew Brees. For Blough and Purdue, it seemed like the perfect match.

The incredible story came full circle late Saturday night when Drew Brees publically tweeted his congratulations to Blough, welcoming him to the Cradle of Quarterbacks.

"You hear all the stories and the ways he contributed to Purdue; honestly, it's an honor, just for my favorite quarterback in the NFL to even tweet at me," said Blough. "I wonder if those guys realize they're making a kid's day as well as congratulating them. I hope one day that I can be on that stage."

It was just the happy ending to a unique story.

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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