The great Chase
When Purdue landed Michigan City’s Chase Triplett early on in Jeff Brohm’s first season last year, it turned some heads in recruiting circles.
“I heard, how did you get him to Purdue?” Wolves coach Phil Mason said. “I was like, are you kidding me? This was coming after they couldn’t block him. He’ll be a headliner there in three years. There’s no doubt in my mind.”
A season removed from his verbal commitment to the Boilermakers, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Triplett has moved from middle linebacker to defensive end and still nobody can block him.
“The best thing for Chase is, it’s his natural position, playing with leverage, using his length, his speed,” Mason said. “He can be what he is. There’s a huge comfort zone for him there. We’ve seen great strides. I can’t even tell you how badly he gets held some games. We’re just begging for it to get called. He’s an absolute force on the edge. The reason Chase and (Justin Wozniak) are so good is they’re both so good. They have to pick who they’re going to block. How are they going to block both?”
A monster tackler as a junior, Triplett has thrived as a pass rusher on the line of scrimmage this season. He comprises half of an imposing set of bookends with Wozniak, who emerged as a defensive force in last year’s tournament run.
“With my size, long arms, great strength, I can turn my hips to get around the end, it’s (the position) Purdue was primarily recruiting me for,” Triplett said. “They talked about it being a flex-type deal, third down, coming up to the edge, getting after the passer, sometimes dropping back.”
The best part about it for Triplett is City’s line is so good, offenses can’t afford to double team him.
“I anticipated that to happen, that teams would scout me more, get after me more — that’s part of the game,” he said. “I would say teams have to respect all of us. They have to play us straight up, which is fine with me. We all want to get after it. We’re all competing up there. It’s really just a race to see who gets there first.”
For all of his Triplett’s physical attributes, Mason is even more complimentary of the rest of the package.
“If Royce (Robinson) is the crazy uncle running around out there, Chase is the head of the household,” Mason said. “He’s the guy in charge, getting everybody lined up properly. He’s a true leader. He just gets it done. In the process of recruiting, they were asking, how’s big’s he going to get? He’s a little stiff at times, I kept telling coach Brohm you’re getting a kid who gives 150 percent to everything he does — brushing his teeth, tying his shoes, going to class, coming to meetings. He’s an extremely high-character individual. He’s adored by his teammates, his peers, the faculty. I’m sure Purdue is getting better athletes, but they’re not getting a better human being.”
As Brohm’s star ascends in the coaching ranks, rumors swirl that he may leave Purdue to return home to Louisville. Triplett has heard all the speculation, but remains confident in Brohm’s straight-shooting approach and commitment to the future in West Lafayette.
“I think coach Brohm will still be there,” he said. “He’s definitely in it for the long run. He’s a great guy. He loves the program. He knows the direction they’re going in. They have a young team. My class is a great recruiting class. That’s a great way to start. In the whole process, (Brohm) would tell us he was trying to get key guys who are going to change the program around. You can see it. Guys who would go to Michigan, places like that, instead they’re choosing Purdue. We can’t wait. We’re going down there and change the culture.”
Before Boiler-ing Up, Triplett looks to help City reach its first football state final Saturday as it takes on No. 1 New Palestine and prolific Dragons running back Charlie Spegal.
“I know the running back is one of the best in the state, in the country,” Triplett said. “I also feel we have the best defense in the state. Our D-line, nobody’s been able to run the ball on us and we don’t plan on changing that now. It’s all about the key details. If we tune in those, we’ll definitely come out with the win.”
Class 5A North Semistate
No. 3 Michigan City (10-2) at No. 1 New Palestine (12-0), 3 p.m.