The first offer for Blough finally came in early May, when Purdue took a chance on him. John Shoop, the Boilermakers' new offensive coordinator, saw something in the Texas quarterback. At the time, nobody else did.
"It does feel like a long time ago," Blough said with a laugh. "It's been a very eventful two months."
That's certainly an understatement. In June, Blough traveled to West Lafayette for his first tour of Purdue, and left as a member of the Boilermakers' 2014 class. At the time, the addition may have raised an eyebrow. Was there a reason Blough had received just one other offer?
Shoop, the quirky quarterback guru, wanted Blough to be his first quarterback commit at Purdue. He believed Blough was a steal. Everyone else now sees it, too.
In Oregon this week, Blough broke out. He finished sixth in the Elite 11 rankings, even ranking first at one point. The coaches and scouts raved of his accuracy and leadership skills. Blough proved to be the most consistent of the camp's performers.
In a field loaded with five-star talents, Blough stole the show. The experts who hadn't heard of him two months ago were singing his praises.
"I was getting the praise that I never have before," Blough said.
The hype for Blough should come as no surprise to Shoop. A couple live workouts and detailed film study led Shoop to believe that Blough was a diamond in the rough.
In recruiting Blough, Shoop didn't hold back. He plugged Purdue's ‘Cradle of Quarterbacks' tradition, he teased the possibility of being that next guy, and he sold the promise new head coach Darrell Hazell has brought to the program. Above all, Shoop stood by the quarterback he believed in.
Now, each time Blough is interviewed, his commitment to Purdue will be questioned. Inevitably, new opportunities will arise—prestigious programs, more playing time, proximity to home. This is what happens for Elite 11 quarterbacks. Blough remains sold on the program which first gave him a chance.
"Coach Shoop and Coach Hazell had trust in me before anyone else," Blough said. "… That's a family atmosphere I want to be a part of. Purdue is where I want to be."
Blough prides himself on proving people wrong. After the breakout performance in Oregon, there won't be many people doubting him.
At Purdue, Blough will be known as the next big thing. Everywhere else, he'll be the one that got away.