Three times in the past five months, key members of the Purdue football program ran into off-field issues that put their futures with the Boilermakers up in the air.
Monday, the status of two of those players was clarified, and in a positive way for head coach Danny Hope.
Hope confirmed to the West Lafayette Courier & Journal late last week that wide receiver O.J. Ross and linebacker Dwayne Beckford (pictured) have been reinstated and are expected to be a part of the team in 2012. Both players were suspended for the Boilermakers’ bowl game this past season and had their scholarships stripped by Hope at various points.
Beckford actually was dismissed from the program entirely, but has paid his dues — literally — in climbing out of Hope’s doghouse.
“He had to get a job, take out loans, pay for his education, work hard and pass the classes,” Hope said of the LB. “He’s passed the classes that he needs to stay on track for eligibility and from a graduation standpoint. He’s on the team, back on scholarship and we don’t anticipate any further incidents with Dwayne.
“As long as he does well in school and takes care of business and there aren’t any type of legal repercussions we’ll proceed on.”
The legal repercussions to which the coach refers stems in part from a drunk-driving charge early last December.
Ross, who was suspended for the bowl game due to academic issues, participated in spring practice but had his scholarship yanked after missing classes. Hope said that the receiver is on track to be eligible this summer.
Beckford finished second on the team in tackles last season, while Ross finished third in receptions (33) and receiving yards (356), and tied for first in receiving touchdowns (three). Both players are back on scholarship.
As for the third member of the trio, wide receiver Antavian Edison is still a member of the team. Edison was arrested earlier this month on suspicion of carrying a concealed weapon. He has yet to be charged, however, leading to Hope’s decision to keep him on the team for the time being.
Last season, Edison led Purdue in receiving yards with 584 and was second in receptions with 44.