When Purdue hit the practice field for the start of spring football Wednesday, it also represented a new start for Dolapo Macarthy.
After abbreviated stints at a prep school and a junior college, the 2009 Merrillville graduate is walking on with the Boilermakers.
"It's a blessing," Macarthy said. "I'm thankful for the opportunity. I'm excited about playing here the next four years."
Macarthy sat out the fall semester, but before going to his native Nigeria for several weeks with his family, he talked to Purdue coach Danny Hope, who invited him to walk on. He passed the NCAA Clearinghouse process and began classes in January.
"It feels so surreal, coming in here, being in the room with (quarterbacks) Robert Marve, Caleb TerBush and Rob Henry," Macarthy said. "I had all those scholarship offers and I lost everything. It feels really good to be around this type of atmosphere. We all get along real well. It's a really good situation."
Injuries and academic casualties forced Purdue to reach down to No. 4 on its depth chart last season, which ended with six straight losses. Then when recruit Russell Bellamy abruptly de-committed to go to Michigan, the incoming freshman class was left thin, making the prospect of bringing in the athletic, 6-foot-6, 225-pound Macarthy intriguing. In fact, when he went for equipment issue, the staff thought he was a receiver.
"What really attracted me was it's wide open," Macarthy said. "I love competition. Most of us are young and bring different things to the table. It'll be exciting to see who comes out with the spot after next season. Even then, you never know what might happen. I'm just going to work on my progressions, getting better and showing them my skills as a quarterback, a leader, a team player. Anything that I can bring to the table, even if they need me to play receiver."
Purdue, Iowa and Central Michigan were among the schools pursuing Macarthy in high school, but he opted to go to Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., in hopes of increasing his exposure.
"It just wasn't a good fit," he said. "You didn't get coached up. They just threw you out there."
Macarthy transferred to Fort Scott (Kan.) Junior College, but left there after last spring. He expects this move to be his last.
"I told (Hope) it's like I'm starting all over," he said. "I'm just putting my faith in God to guide me. A degree from (Purdue) will be very good for me. I'm at a big-time school and I'm not very far from home. It's a perfect fit. I feel real comfortable here, like I'm at home."
The fact that Purdue runs a spread offense out of a shotgun set, similar to what Macarthy operated at Merrillville, doesn't hurt either.
"There are a lot of similarities," he said. "The terminology's just different. I just have to learn the system and adjust to the speed. I was rusty when I came here. But I'll get a good look in the spring and when the season rolls around, we'll see what I'm capable of doing. I'm ready to rock n' roll. I'm going to do whatever I can to have an impact on the program and help them turn things around."