Milton Wright, Purdue's top returning wide receiver, has been ruled academically ineligible for the 2022 season and is no longer with the program, according to the Lafayette Journal & Courier.
A full-time starter since his sophomore season, Wright was expected to take on a starring role in Purdue's offense this fall with All-American David Bell off to the NFL as a third-round pick to the Cleveland Browns. The rising senior has more than 1,300 yards receiving in his career and caught 57 passes for 732 yards in 2021, trailing only Bell in those categories, while leading the team with seven receiving touchdowns.
This is not Wright's first time dealing with academic problems, as he did not play in last season's Music City Bowl against Tennessee due to eligibility issues from the fall. He skipped spring football to focus on academics, but was unable to become eligible.
Despite not having Bell or Wright on the field, Purdue quarterback Aidan O'Connell put together one of the finest games of his career, completing 26 of 47 passes for 534 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Boilermakers to a 48-45 victory over the Vols. Rising senior Broc Thompson caught seven passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns in the victory.
With Wright gone, the Boilermakers are now down their top three receivers from the 2021 season; tight end Payne Durham's 467 yards receiving leads all returners. Purdue coach Jeff Brohm has been active this offseason in the recruiting space to rebuild the wide receiver room. The Boilermakers added transfers Elijah Canion (Auburn) and Tyrone Tracy (Iowa) over the summer. Freshman receiver Zion Steptoe also enrolled on campus in the spring. O'Connell completed 71.6% of his passes for 3,712 yards and 28 touchdowns last year, which should help ease the transition for the young group of receivers.