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A college sports blog from The Oakland Press, dedicated to covering Michigan and Michigan State athletics as well as former Oakland County athletes at other schools.

Monday, August 2, 2010

High Hopes for OLSM grad Justin Siller in his return to Boilermakers

Often times, when a player gets a second chance with a team, the coach of that team tends to take a wait-and-see approach.

Not so with Orchard Lake St. Mary's grad Justin Siller, who's back with the Purdue Boilermakers after a year in community college exile (read my earlier post about his dismissal and his May reinstatement here), and will be a huge part of the team's plans.

"He's back in school, he's eligible, he's on the team, and we're excited about having him back," said Purdue coach Danny Hope at Monday's Big Ten media day in Chicago. "He's a great teammate, a fine person, an outstanding student. Obviously, we missed his services last year."

The Boilermakers didn't necessarily need Siller at quarterback — the position from which he'd engineered a 48-42 win over Michigan in his first start in 2008 — since they had Joey Elliott. The beneficiary of Siller's year-long absence, in that he won the QB derby last spring by default, Elliott led Purdue to just a 5-7 record, but nearly swept the state of Michigan, beating the Wolverines, 38-36, and losing to the Spartans, 40-37.

This year, the Boilermakers will have Miami (Fla.) transfer Robert Marve — who Hope called "as talented as any quarterback (he'd) been around" — but they'll still need Siller's versatility and athleticism.

Hope noted that the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Siller is currently listed on the depth chart at wide receiver, but he could line up at any of the skill positions on offense. That could be especially critical, since the Boilers will be without starting running back Ralph Bolden, who tore an ACL in spring practice. Siller may end up in the mix at running back with Al-Terek McBurse and another converted WR, Keith Carlos, a JUCO transfer who was a runner in junior college.

"He's hard to tackle, can make you miss. He's a heck of a football player and a heck of a guy — huge shot in the arm for our football team if we can get Justin Siller back this year," Hope said. "Justin Siller can be a difference maker for our football team, when it's all said and done, and I expect him to impact a whole lot of football games."

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