High school football fans from across the metro area could be flipping their channels on Saturday afternoons in the fall in years ahead to catch a glimpse of Purdue games with a few receivers signing or committing with the Boilermakers.
Belleville receiver Deion Burks became the latest local standout to commit to Purdue. He is The Detroit News' No. 15 ranked player for the class of 2021 and is the latest Metro Detroit prospect to commit to the Boilermakers.
Burks earned first-team honors after grabbing 35 passes for 871 yards and 12 TDs, taking his game to the next level during the postseason where Belleville won a regional championship before a Division 1 state semifinal loss to Brighton.
Burks, a three-star receiver, had multiple Power Five offers, picking Purdue over Kentucky, Iowa State, Indiana, Boston College and Cincinnati.
“Deion took a major jump this year in terms of his maturity and leadership on and off the field,” said Belleville coach Jermain Crowell after the season, pointing out that he was a track star as well. “He embraced the physicality of football, is a playmaker and will play both ways next year.”
Burks will join Julian Barnett (Michigan State) and Andre Seldon (Michigan) as two-way players for the Tigers in recent years.
“Purdue is a good fit for him,” said Crowell of Burks. “I tell the kid to go to the school that loves you and they seem to really prioritize Deion, so I think they will make use of his talents. They’re doing a good job of recruiting around here.”
This past fall, receivers Maliq Carr of Oak Park and Abdur-Rahmaan Yaseen of Walled Lake Western signed with Purdue, with the players enrolling early to get a head start on the competition.
Then, Southfield A&T quarterback Anthony Romphf signed with Purdue as an athlete after passing on Florida Atlantic, who he originally committed with, when FAU head coach Lane Kiffin left to take over at Mississippi.
While Yaseen earned a spot on The Detroit News Dream Team his senior year after leading Walled Lake Western to a regional championship, Burks earned first-team all-state honors for Division 1-2.
Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm has also brought in Detroit King safety Marvin Grant, Detroit Cass Tech safety Jalen Graham, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep offensive lineman Nalin Fox and Grand Rapids South Christian lineman Spencer Holstege the last couple of years.
Belleville is expected to once again be among the elite teams in the state with Burks back, along with Christian Dhue-Reid, who has thrown for 5,465 yards and 72 TDs the last two years.
Belleville also has a strong defense, anchored by five-star Damon Payne, the No. 1 ranked defensive tackle in the country, and four-star linebacker Jamari Buddin, with both players expected to take their time before making their college choices.