ANGOLA — Purdue always seemed like the place Ryan Brandt would end up from the moment coach Jeff Brohm and his staff offered him a football scholarship as a junior. No matter where else he visited, whatever offers came in, West Lafayette always seemed like the clear favorite.
Brandt spoke to Brohm on Friday over the phone. He had been a high-valued target of the program for over a year at that point. The coach expressed to Brandt his desire to have the Angola senior-to-be as part of his program, but also stressed the importance of making the decision that was best for him.
When he hung up, Brandt knew what he wanted to do. But he also made it a point to speak with those closest to him first.
“They were my first D1 offer and my only Big Ten offer,” Brandt said. “They believed in me from the start and I wanted to go there for awhile.”
Tuesday morning, the Angola senior made it official, announcing his commitment to play for Brohm and the Boilermakers on Twitter once his Hornets career comes to an end.
The three-star prospect is a high school safety, but was recruited by Purdue to play linebacker, a position where he’d join fellow 2020 commitments Ben Kreul and Clyde Washington.
Of course Brandt prefers safety, but also knows he’ll need to increase his speed and quickness and become more fundamentally sound to play that position in the Big Ten. Nickel and/or outside linebacker might be the better fit for him. At least right now.
“Coach Brohm told me that they could possibly see me fitting as a safety, nickel or outside linebacker,” Brandt said. “So it will come down to how I grow and what position I can be the most successful at.”
The starting point for his collegiate career, though, is likely to be at linebacker. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Brandt believes he can grow into the 215- to 225-pound range pretty easily once he gets into a Division I nutrition and strength program.
At Angola, Brandt carries a variety of responsibilities at his strong safety position, including playing at the line of scrimmage as much as he drops back into coverage.
The role provided good preparation for the potential position switch, Brandt said, as well as highlighted specific skill sets he thinks will help to ease the transition.
“I believe I’m aggressive and I have good quickness to fly around and make plays,” Brandt said.
Once Brandt received the Purdue offer, other Power 5 programs showed interest, but none offered scholarships. It wasn’t until January when other schools offered — Mid-American Conference programs, Air Force and Navy among them — that Brandt had a better idea about where he would ultimately end up.
Brandt committed to Purdue over offers from a list of other schools that included Army, Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan, among others. He also had been drawing interest from schools such as Michigan State, Indiana and other Big Ten programs. He visited a camp in East Lansing a few weeks back, and made the trip to the University of Wisconsin last month as well.
For Brandt, though, it was Purdue all the way.
Brandt is Purdue’s 11th commitment in the 2020 class, which currently ranks 45th nationally.