Purdue Football: Purdue Adds JuCo OL Issiah Walker to 2023 Class

Issiah Walker, a Junior College offensive tackle from Butler Community College in Kansas, announced his intention to sign with Purdue’s 2023 recruiting class.

Walker is a 6’4”, 310 pound right tackle originally from Norland High School in Miami. He was a composite 4*(93) recruit in the 2020 class. He originally signed with Florida out of high school, and enrolled early, but transferred back home to Miami after a semester with the Gators. His time in Miami was also brief. He sat out the 2020 Covid season, redshirted in 2021, and transferred to Butler CC for 2022 without taking a snap for the Hurricanes. Walker chose Purdue over Marshall, South Florida, and Coastal Carolina (amongst others).

He was priority #1 for Coach Walters after the Boilermakers failed to sign a single offensive lineman in the 2023 class during the early signing period. Coach Walkers and the entire offensive staff (Graham Harrell (OC), Corey Patterson (WR), Seth Doege (TE) and Matt Mattox (OL) paid a visit to Walker in his Miami home earlier this week. Issiah followed up, taking an official visit to West Lafayette last weekend.

This is a huge win for the new staff.

Walker is a pure tackle prospect. He played right tackle in high school and at Butler CC and will play right tackle at Purdue.

He’s the perfect size for a right tackle and is light on his feet for a giant. He’s listed at 310 pounds, but he doesn’t look it. That means he’s carrying mostly good weight. You don’t see a belly flopping over his belt line. He looks more like a 280 pounder. I won’t pretend to be an offensive line evaluator, but it’s hard not to see his physical ability.

How He Fits

Purdue was desperate to unearth offensive linemen for the 2023 class after the previous staff left them with nothing to work with during the early signing period (that might be a good thing). They went on the road and pulled a former 4* offensive tackle with 3 years of eligibility. He’ll be the highest rated recruit in the offensive line room for Purdue this fall.

After doing some reading, I’m not worried about his apparent wanderlust early in his career. This is a bit complicated, but boiling it down to the basics, he signed with Florida, enrolled early, immediately regretted his decision, transferred to Miami after a semester, got caught up in the Hurricane’s coaching overhaul, transferred, and spent a year at Butler CC where he started every game last season. He got caught up in things beyond his control, and isn’t a discipline problem.

Coach Mattox isn’t bringing him in to sit on the bench. Purdue’s offensive line is in desperate need of athleticism, and Walker brings that to the table in spades. He’ll have to earn his spot, but don’t be surprised if he’s Purdue’s starting right tackle (or at least in a time share) next season.

What’s Next?

Since taking over the offensive line in January, Coach Mattox has added Bowling Green OG/OC transfer Jalen Grant and Walker. I expect both to play an important role in the 2023 season. A few weeks ago, Ledman asked, “what does Purdue need to add” as the round table topic.

I said “dudes”.

Grant and Walker are both dudes. They’re potential instant impact players that won’t look out of place in the Big10. I expect this staff to continue to upgrade the overall talent level of the team at every position (other than at QB, where they already landed their Hudson Card).

I can’t guarantee on field results, but this coaching staff is going to kill it on the recruiting trail at all 3 levels (high school, juco, transfer portal). It might take a few seasons, but the days of Purdue being physically overwhelmed by teams like Michigan and LSU will come to an end under Coach Walters.

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