2. Isaiah Nichols (transfer), DL
Coming from Illinois, Walters understands you can’t compete in the Big Ten without quality offensive and defensive linemen. Unfortunately, the Boilermakers lost Jack Sullivan, Branson Deen, and Lawrence Johnson to the transfer portal, significantly affecting their depth. However, Ryan Walters and his staff did sign four defensive linemen out of high school; most of them are developmental.
Arkansas transfer Isaiah Nichols is a plug-and-play transfer who should come in and start immediately, barring injury. The Arkansas native was a rotational player with the Razorbacks, but he should see significantly more snaps this fall for the Boilermakers. Nichols gives Purdue size in the interior of their defensive line, which is essential when playing teams who want to run the football.
Keep an eye on incoming frosh nose tackle Jamarion Harkless. At 6-foot-4 and 320 pounds, Harkless can give Purdue some snaps at the zero or three tech. He has excellent polish for his age and adds some much-needed talent depth in the defensive trenches. The Kentucky native also fits perfectly in Walters’ 3-4 base scheme as a natural nose tackle.
Expect both Nichols and Harkless to come in and give the Boilermakers some size and physicality instantly.