College Sports

From Texas to Purdue to the NFL? David Blough wants to keep following Drew Brees’ path

Purdue quarterback David Blough isn’t lacking confidence in his dreams of making it to the NFL.

The Carrollton Creekview product believes he has the talent and ability to become the next in line of great Boilermaker QBs to succeed at the next level, from Len Dawson to Bob Griese to Drew Brees.

“I’m very confident in my abilities,” Blough said earlier this offseason during a training session at Michael Johnson Performance in McKinney.

“When I look around the quarterback class [in this year’s NFL Draft] and see what I’ve been through and what I’ve dealt with and my improvement over the years, I’m confident you can take me with any of those guys.

“I’ll sit in the room and I’ll have the football knowledge, maturity and leadership to be able to have the same impact as a first-round pick or a seventh-round pick or if I go undrafted. I’m ready to help an organization win and prove that I belong in that league.”

Blough is among the more notable “snubs” from this year’s NFL Combine, and NFLDraftScout.com recently named Blough the top offensive “snub” from the Combine who could be selected in the NFL Draft later this month.

The draft publication mentioned Blough’s impressive showing at the East-West Shrine Game, adding that Blough is projected as “a game manager who can make all the throws but has arm and size limits.”

At just 6-foot, 3/8 inches and 205 pounds, size is one of Blough’s biggest knocks. But Brees, a fellow Texan high school standout who landed at Purdue, measured barely over 6 feet and 213 pounds at the 2001 Combine, and has gone on to have one of the best QB careers in NFL history.

“Drew being my size, under recruited out of Austin, he’s the reason I went to Purdue. He laid the groundwork,” Blough said. “I want to be the next one of him. I want to be next in line at Purdue. I’ve given myself the opportunity to do that. I’m thankful for him and his impact on our school.”

Blough closed his college career with 9,734 yards passing, 69 touchdowns and 43 interceptions in 37 career starts. The interceptions are an issue, as he threw 21 his sophomore season in 2016. But Blough improved his accuracy and decision-making each season, coming off his best season as a senior.

Blough threw for 3,705 yards passing with 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions last season. His completion percentage (66 percent) and passing efficiency (146.9) were career bests.

In a league that is QB-hungry, he’ll surely get a chance to showcase his skills to NFL teams. Blough is making several pre-draft visits.

If not the NFL, Blough is willing to pursue other options such as the Canadian Football League or a startup league such as the XFL.

“Every time a new league pops up, my dad texts, ‘Job opportunities,’” Blough said. “But I’m confident I can play at the highest level in the NFL. I’m confident I can play in Canada, XFL ... I’m going to play and I’m going to go until my body says no, or they stop calling.”

Blough went on to talk about one of his most memorable nights in college -- Oct. 20 when Purdue upset No. 2 Ohio State 49-20. Blough threw for 378 yards and three TDs that night.

For Blough, though, that night is best remembered for late Purdue student Tyler Trent, who inspired a countless number of fans during his fight against a rare form of bone cancer.

“That’s a special night for Purdue fans, for players,” Blough said. “We were on that night. Football is an emotional game and we had something to play for. The guys played inspired. We played tough that night. It was because we had a living example of somebody who was fighting something much worse than any of us can even fathom, and that was why we did it. He deserved the Disney Spirit Award for courage, the moment of the year in college football. He inspired an entire team and entire community.”

Blough still wears a bracelet with the words “Tyler Strong” on them, a constant reminder of Trent and the inspiration he became for the team.

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Drew Davison ddavison@star-telegram.com

“It’s incredible testimony of courage and faith and living in a way that glorifies God,” Blough said. “That was his goal even through the midst of his cancer. It was special to be a part of it at Purdue.”

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