Herdman becomes part of 'special program'

Virginia tight end Cole Herdman committed because he believes Purdue is on the rise.

Cole Herdman could feel it was coming. While spending time with recruits during his official visit, he felt the momentum in Purdue's recruiting efforts.

Since that weekend—one of the biggest recruiting events Purdue has ever hosted—the Boilermakers have added eight pledges to their 2014 class. Herdman knew many of those recruits on campus would become Boilermakers.

On Monday, the tight end committed to Purdue and joined the growing recruiting class.

"When I got [to West Lafayette], I really felt like these guys were going to be teammates in the future," Herdman said. "I really felt a bond with everyone. I knew this wasn't going to be an ordinary recruiting class, this was going to be something special."

Herdman, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound tight end from Flint Hill (Va.) High School, went largely under-recruited through much of his senior year. A strong showing earned him interest from many schools, but the Boilermakers brought his first major-conference offer.

This past weekend, Herdman was on campus at Virginia Tech and was offered a greyshirt. In the end, his time in Blacksburg just reaffirmed his feelings for the Boilermakers. Upon returning home, he came to a decision that Purdue was the right place.

"It feels great," Herdman said of his commitment. "I'm really excited to what's going to be a successful program under Coach Hazell."

Purdue's coaching staff is what eventually made the difference. Herdman built strong relationships with Kevin Sherman and Gerad Parker, his lead recruiters, and also Coach Hazell.

"The coaching staff was great," said Herdman. "Coming into Purdue, I had a lot of questions and they answered them all. I know we're going to be successful."

While on campus at Purdue, Herdman learned of the important role of the tight end in John Shoop's complex offense. This was another key factor in his decision.

"That means a lot," Herdman said. "They're going to use me as a blocker and a receiver. This gives me a great opportunity to succeed in a great offense."

Herdman will likely redshirt as a freshman as a pair of seniors, Gabe Holmes and Justin Sinz, sit atop the depth chart. After that, the opportunity to start is wide open.

The tight end is eager to become a part of a program he feels is on the rise.

"I really understood this was going to be a special program," he said, "and I wanted to be a part of it."

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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