There aren’t a lot of people like Brock Purdy.
Or football players.
That’s why Iowa State head football coach Matt Campbell believes his star quarterback is so extraordinary. And not just on the field.
Off the gridiron, too.
“Brock is a really special kid,” said the Cyclones’ head coach. “I think probably way even greater than just as a football player. To me, that’s probably what makes him the most special is who he is as a person.
“I think you get some of those players sometimes that come around and just have those unique mannerisms about who he is as a person and who he is as a man. I think that impacts everybody around him.
“So, I think my greatest joy has probably been that.”
There’s no doubting or downplaying the 6-foot-1, 210-pound sophomore quarterback’s charisma or personal magnetism. Just as there’s no questioning or second-guessing Purdy’s innate abilities on the football field.
That’s the precarious spot West Virginia University finds itself in when the Mountaineers host Iowa State at 4 p.m. Saturday in Milan Puskar Stadium.
“Obviously, as a football player,” said Campbell, “he’s a young man that just keepa working really hard to get better every week. That part is really enjoyable as a coach, too.”
Particularly considering the dividends.
Purdy has exploded during his sophomore campaign, completing 121 of 171 passes (70.8 completion percentage) for 1,578 yards with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions. But, then, add in Purdy’s mobility. He has rushed for a team-high 203 yards on 45 carries (4.5 yards per attempt) and five touchdowns.
That’s the “Purdy Factor.”
It’s also why Campbell has given his young quarterback less structure and more freedom this season
“Yeah, I think that is probably where Brock has grown the most,” said Campbell. “If you asked, ‘Where has he grown from last year to this year?’ ... and I don’t even know if it’s structure as much as it is just owning what’s going on around him offensively.
“I think it was good for us to be able to get to the off-season last year and really put an offense around his skill set and, you know, kind of really help him take ownership in what we’re trying to do offensively.”
That has allowed Purdy to run and throw amok.
Just ask WVU coach Neal Brown.
“It all starts with Purdy,” he said. “I really don’t get into comparisons. We had a couple of calls [on the weekly Big 12 conference call] about comparing him. The deal is he’s special. He’s special.
“He’s playing at an extremely high level. He’s one of the top quarterbacks in the country. I think he will not be under the radar very much longer. He’s a dual-threat. He’s got the ability to run with power. He’s got the ability to run with speed. He’s active. He throws the deep ball really well. Like I said, I think he’s special. He’s playing at a high, high level right now.”
Purdy is second to only Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts for the Big 12 lead in total offense at 356.2 yards per game. But Purdy is second to none in passing yards with a Big 12 high of 315.6 yards per game.
That means tackling is No. 1 on WVU’s to-do list this week.
“It does,” agreed Brown. “He’s got a really strong lower body. And he’s fast.”
That makes him Purdy special.