Week 17 Waiver Wire: Championship Edition
Two key Purdue football players are not in Nashville and are not expected to play in Thursday’s Music City Bowl matchup against Tennessee. According to Black and Gold of Rivals on Monday, junior wide receiver Milton Wright and fifth-year senior cornerback Dedrick Mackey are the two Purdue projected starters that are not with the team at the bowl site location.
Additionally, according to the report, “super senior offensive tackle Greg Long is here [in Nashville] but is doubtful to play.”
Both Wright and Mackey are reportedly out for academic reasons.
The news regarding Wright, Mackey, and Long comes just a few weeks after Purdue lost two significant starters on each side of the ball. On Dec. 13, Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm announced that defensive lineman George Karlaftis and wide receiver David Bell would not be playing in the bowl game. Shortly before that announcement, both players had made a declaration for the NFL Draft.
Without Purdue’s leading receiver from the season in Bell, Purdue was going to need their second-best receiver to step up and take over the top slot. However, that second receiver for Purdue is Wright.
According to the report from Tom Dienhart, “Wright ranks No. 2 on the team with 51 receptions for 679 yards to go along with a team-high seven TD catches.”
Additionally, the loss of Mackey will be a significant hit to Purdue’s defense after the loss of Karlaftis. Mackey started all 12 games for Purdue this year and also ranks third on the Purdue team with three interceptions.
If offensive lineman Long is unable to play, Purdue will be losing their starting redshirt fifth-year senior left tackle.
From a COVID perspective, both teams are believed to still be in good shape after arriving in Nashville. Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel said on Sunday that Tennessee had arrived in Nashville COVID-free after the holiday break and that the team was continuing to act responsibly.