Purdue football: Suspended Swede expects great things
WEST LAFAYETTE — Monday was just OK, Tuesday was the best practice and Wednesday was a struggle.
That’s how David Hedelin sums up his brief Purdue football experience through three days of training camp.
“I’m expecting great things here,” the junior college transfer said.
Hedelin isn’t the only one.
The Boilermakers are counting on the native of Sweden to eventually take over the left tackle position once he’s completed his NCAA-imposed three-game suspension. Hedelin’s first game won’t be until Sept. 20 against Southern Illinois, one week before the start of the Big Ten season.
What offensive line coach Jim Bridge and head coach Darrell Hazell witnessed during the early stages of camp is what they expected from Hedelin, who attended City College of San Francisco the last two seasons.
“We signed him because we thought he could make our team better,” Bridge said. “From Day 3 — we have a long way to go and there’s nobody remotely close to being ready. At Day 3, it looks like we were right. There’s a lot of qualities that make him a nice prospect.”
Hedelin’s size is one. He’s 6-foot-4 and weighs 295 pounds, nearly 20 pounds more than last season. His lower body is strong. He’s quick. He plays with an attitude and isn’t afraid to mix it up. That happened Tuesday during a dust-up with defensive tackle Ra’Zahn Howard.
“My biggest strength is probably that I’m aggressive,” Hedelin said.
Quite frankly, the offensive line needs more of this approach.
Although Hedelin will miss the first three games, he’s seeing snaps with the first- and second-team offense. Senior Jack DeBoef remains in position to start the season No. 1 at left tackle, but Hedelin has to be ready once the suspension is over.
His suspension stems from playing on a club team in Sweden for two years after high school.
“He’s really good,” Hazell said. “He’s everything we thought he would be and then a little bit more. He’s nasty, he’s quick. He understands balance on the block. He’s going to be a really good player for us. He’s different.”
Right now, Hedelin is acclimating to the speed and quickness of Purdue’s players compared to the junior college schedule he faced the last two seasons. He’s also learning to play with more weight than he did a year ago and still maintain his quickness.
“I do feel a little bit heavier,” Hedelin said. “That’s also something I’ve got to get used to. I don’t feel as quick as I used to be. I’ve got to get used to my mass.”
Hedelin arrived in West Lafayette in June, enrolled in summer school and attended offseason workouts. Right tackle J.J. Prince said Hedelin is adapting.
“He has tree trunks for legs. He’s got a nice aggression. He’s pretty strong. It’s a matter of channeling that into technique,” Prince said.
By: Mike Carmin, Journal & Courier