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Purdue hoping Hudson Card can be their next ace at the ‘Cradle of Quarterbacks’

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JULY 27: Purdue Boilermakers R-Jr. Quarterback Hudson Card during the Big Ten Conference Media Days on July 27, 2023 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN (Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

(AP) — Hudson Card thinks he can become Purdue’s new ace.

Those inside the program are firm believers, too.

First-year coach Ryan Walters raves about Card’s mobility, receivers like Card’s arm strength and accuracy, and now, after just a few months on campus, the Boilermakers are going all-in on the former Texas star emerging as the next big thing at the “Cradle of Quarterbacks.”

“I think that was part of the reason that made me want to come here — they produce quarterbacks who go to the league,” Card said. “That’s something I want to end up eventually doing. It’s really cool to be a part of that, and, hopefully, I can carry on the tradition.”

The roll call includes names such as Len Dawson and Bob Griese, Gary Danielson and Jim Everett, Drew Brees and Kyle Orton, and most recently Aidan O’Connell, the walk-on now in his first training camp with the Las Vegas Raiders.

At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Card has prototypical size. Walters said he also thinks Card’s athleticism will not only give the Boilermakers a different look from the drop-back style and bubble screens that have defined Purdue football for more than 25 years but create headaches for defenses, too.

“What I like the most about Hudson is he came in, put his head down and went to work and I think that helps you immediately gain the respect of your teammates,” Walters said. “His talent jumped out when we started spring ball and he’s got great arm talent. He can run as well.”

If Card makes that quick, smooth transition, the defending Big Ten West champions could use last season’s momentum to propel them forward and rekindle memories of Brees, another Texas prep star who chose Purdue.

Card couldn’t think of a better pairing.

“On my recruiting visit I did speak with him (Brees),” Card said. “He just told me about his experience at Purdue and that was something that helped me with my decision.”


Walters brings a different perspective to the Purdue sideline, having spent most of his coaching career exclusively on the defensive side of the ball.

But like former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, Walters played quarterback in high school and college before moving to the secondary. It’s an experience that could help Walters in his first head coaching job.

“Playing safety, you are kind of the quarterback of the defense,” he said. “But there’s a reason I hired Graham Harrell and there’s a reason I wanted Hudson Card. It’s because I think that style of play is what college football is today. It’s what I hate to see on defense on Saturdays.”


Devin Mockobee started last summer as a walk-on running back buried at No. 4 on the depth chart. He finished the season as Purdue’s top rusher (968 yards) and a school freshman record of four 100-yard games.

With Mockobee expected to carry a heavier load in 2023, one of Walters’ first moves was awarding his No. 1 back a scholarship.

“Devin looks like a different player,” Walters said. “He’s transformed his body. He obviously has talent and skill set to have success in this conference, that’s proven.”


Purdue faces a daunting schedule after opening the season Sept. 2 against Fresno State, its only non-power conference foe.

The Boilermakers then visit Virginia Tech and host Syracuse before Wisconsin visits for a Friday night showdown.

Walters faces his old boss, Illinois coach Bret Bielema, on Sept. 30. Then comes a four-game stretch with trips to Iowa, Nebraska and Michigan with one home game sprinkled in — Oct. 14 against Ohio State.