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Purdue walk-on star RB Devin Mockobee receives full scholarship

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WISH) — In one of his first moves as the new head coach of the Purdue Boilermakers, Ryan Walters announced a full scholarship for one of the team’s hardest-working players, walk-on running back Devin Mockobee.

“When I found out he was a walk-on, I was like, ‘What’s going on over there?’ So, the first order of business…I’m gonna pull rank right now. You on scholarship,” Walters said Tuesday in a video shared by the team’s Twitter account.

Mockobee, from the small town of Boonville in Warrick County, was a standout athlete at Boonville High School. With the football team, he rushed for over 3,500 career yards; with the track team, he won the Indiana State High School long jump title and placed second in the 110-meter hurdles.

Yet, his performance on the field and on the track didn’t draw attention from college scouts, News 8’s Charlie Clifford reported earlier this month.

“Even game tape from fall 2020 of his school-record 415 yards rushing against future Purdue teammate quarterback Brady Allen and Gibson Southern High School wasn’t enough to create multiple NCAA Division I scholarship offers,” Clifford wrote on Dec. 1.

In the summer of 2021, Mockobee passed up his only Division I offer, from Navy, and enrolled at Purdue. As a walk-on, the spent the 2021 season on the bench under then-head coach Jeff Brohm.

When the 2022 season began, Mockobee was the fourth running back on the team’s depth chart.

When offered a chance to make his first collegiate start in Week 2 against Indiana State, Mockobee made a splash, tallying 78 yards rushing and a touchdown on 13 carries. But it was in Week 5 at Minnesota that the Boonville native truly broke out, securing the win for the Boilers with a 68-yard fourth-quarter touchdown.

The win over the Golden Gophers put the Boiler from Boonville on the path to stardom. He ran for a Purdue freshman record 920 yards and 9 touchdowns and helped propel the Boilers to the Big Ten Championship game on Dec. 3 at Lucas Oil Stadium against No. 2 Michigan.

At Lucas Oil Stadium, before a crowd of more than 67,000, Mockobee demonstrated yet again why he’s one of college football’s most impressive young players.

After an early first-quarter touchdown by Michigan, Mockobee started the scoring for Purdue, rushing one yard for a touchdown. A kick from Mitchell Fineran tied the game 7-7 going into the second quarter.

Purdue kept pace with Michigan in the second quarter thanks to two field goals from Fineran, but an offensive breakout from the Wolverines smothered the underdog Boilermakers, who fell 43-22.

The regular season may be over for Mockobee and Purdue, but there’s one more important date on the schedule: Jan. 2, 2023. That’s when the unranked Boilers (8-5) will take on No. 16 LSU (9-4) in the Citrus Bowl.

With his new scholarship in hand, Mockobee will head to Orlando with his teammates, likely hoping the Boilers can — for the second year in a row — pull off the upset and defeat an SEC powerhouse in a bowl game.

Win or lose, the kid from Boonville will be exactly where he’s meant to be: on the field, representing the black and gold.

Catch News 8’s one-on-one interview with Purdue’s new head football coach on “SportsLocker Sunday” at 10:15 p.m.