First-team All-Mountain West. Played in 12 games, recording 83 tackles, including a pair of sacks, 10 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
Purcell ranked No. 1 among all MW defensive linemen in tackles, averaging 6.9 tackles per game, and ranked No. 3 among all MW defensive linemen in solo tackles, with 36. The senior from Highlands Ranch, Colo., ranked No. 14 in the Mountain West in tackles among all players at all positions (6.9 per game).
He ended the season with 83 total tackles, 8.0 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one pass breakup and one blocked kick from his defensive tackle position. Purcell was amazingly consistent throughout the season, recording five or more tackles in 11 of 12 games. His season high tackle game in conference play came against New Mexico, with 11 tackles.
Purcell was a very valuable performer for the Wyoming Cowboys his junior season. He anchored the interior of the defensive line, starting 10 of 13 games. He missed one game, versus UNLV, due to injury and didn't start two others due to injury against San Diego State and TCU. But when he was healthy, he was as productive as his two senior teammates, Josh Biezuns and Gabe Knapton. Purcell was credited with 48 total tackles, including 25 solo tackles. He had two sacks and three tackles for loss on the season, blocked two kicks, and recovered one fumble. His two blocked kicks came against Weber State and Boise State. He concluded the season with one of his best games of the year against Colorado State. He was credited with six tackles, one sack and one tackle for loss versus CSU. Late in the game, Purcell's sack came in the end zone on the CSU quarterback for a safety. That gave Wyoming a 22-19 lead that would end up being the final score. He also had an outstanding game at Air Force, making seven tackles and recovering a fumble in a very important road win. Purcell has started 24 of 30 career games and is a three-time letterwinner.
Purcell started all 12 games at defensive tackle for the Cowboys and showed improvement each week. He finished seventh on the team with 57 tackles and fifth in tackles for loss with four for 10 yards. Purcell's top performances of the season came against San Diego State and at UNLV, recording eight tackles in each of those two games. Three of his top four performances of the season came in the final four games, including a seven-tackle performance at New Mexico to go with his two eight-tackle outings. He also recorded 1.5 tackles for loss and 0.5 sacks to go with six tackles against Southern Utah in the season opener.
Purcell began his true freshman season with the intentions of redshirting. However, that redshirt was pulled prior to the sixth game of the season against New Mexico due to injuries in the defensive line. Purcell then played in the next six games and started two, versus BYU and San Diego State, before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury against TCU. That injury forced him to miss the final two games of the season at Colorado State and the New Mexico Bowl. While healthy, Purcell contributed greatly to the defensive line. He recorded nine tackles on the year, including a season-best five against BYU.
Purcell was selected Colorado Second Team All-State Class 5A by the Rocky Mountain News and Honorable Mention All-State Class 5A by The Denver Post in 2008. He was also ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 17 best recruit in the state of Colorado. That ranking included all recruits in the state of Colorado, regardless of position. Purcell recorded 60 solo tackles from his defensive line position as a senior, including 10 sacks. As a team captain, he helped lead his Highlands Ranch team to a No. 16 seed (out of 32 qualifying teams) in the Colorado Class 5A State Playoffs before losing to Denver East in the first round. As a junior, Purcell and his Highlands Ranch squad advanced to the second round of the 5A playoffs. He also wrestled, ran track and played rugby in high school. Purcell played for head football coach Darrel Gorham at Highlands Ranch.
Born April 20, 1991, he is one of five children of Ariane and Gordon Purcell. He was also recruited by Boise State, BYU, Colorado State, Hawaii, New Mexico, UCLA, Utah and Utah State. He is majoring in criminal justice.