College football: Arrow’s pointing up for Purdue’s Dolapo Macarthy
By Brian Peloza Post-Tribune correspondent April 11, 2013 7:36PM
When: Noon Saturday
Where: Ross-Ade Stadium
Local flavor: There are seven players on Purdue’s spring roster from Northwest Indiana, including: long snapper John Bednar (Valparaiso), defensive tackle Thomas Brown (Calumet), linebacker Tylor Foster (Lake Central), defensive tackle Ryan Isaac (Michigan City), wide receiver Dolapo Macarthy (Merrillville), cornerback Landau Lang (Merrillville) and running back David Yancey (Lake Central).
Updated: May 13, 2013 6:18AM
WEST LAFAYETTE — Within the past year, Purdue wide receiver Dolapo Macarthy has matured from being an unknown commodity into a potential breakout star.
Just don’t tell that to him.
“Some people will say, ‘Dolapo, you look sharp,’” said Macarthy, a former standout quarterback at Merrillville. “I don’t pay any attention to that because I know where I want to be personally, where my potential is ... I have a lot of room to grow, a lot of room to improve.”
It’s easy to see why people get excited about Macarthy’s potential. He’s shown sure hands during Purdue’s open spring practices under first-year coach Darrell Hazell, and his 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame is the type of size coaches covet at the receiver position.
Macarthy is Purdue’s second-leading returning receiver from last season, catching 28 passes for 252 yards and one touchdown.
Oh, and he’s only been a wide receiver since the 2011 season, with his first year being spent on the scout team running the offense of opponents.
“I feel like I understand a little bit more,” Macarthy said. “I’d say I’m probably about 65 percent there. ... I want to emphasize how much improvement I can make in my game as a receiver. No matter what happens I’ll always have room to improve.”
Macarthy had a modest start to last season, catching seven passes for 69 yards over the first six games. But he had 16 receptions for 138 yards over a three-game span against Ohio State, Minnesota and Penn State, filling in for injured receiver O.J. Ross.
“I felt like I earned the playing time I got last year by what I did in the spring, in the fall and during workouts,” Macarthy said. “I have to build off what I started doing, even though we have a new coaching staff and a new slate.”
Purdue is running a pro-style offense, led by offensive coordinator John Shoop, who held the same position with the Bears from 2001 to 2003.
“I’m trying to adjust to the new wrinkles in the offense, the terminology and the different routes,” said Macarthy. “You have to really work at interpreting the offense. It’s a lot more wordy and the plays are longer. You really have to be quick on your feet and be able to use your brain and think.”
So far in spring, Macarthy said he has been used in motion and the slot, while also being lined up out wide and in tight.
“It’s pretty unique,” said Macarthy, who noted the importance of last season despite the decision that saw previous coach Danny Hope fired. “I think if I came in just like I did last year, (learning a new offense) would have been a lot harder.”
Purdue wide receivers coach Kevin Sherman wants to see more consistency out of everyone in his group, Macarthy included.
“He’s still learning the position,” Sherman said. “I think (previously playing quarterback) helps him moving out wide, because he understands the big picture. I like what he’s all about right now.”
Purdue lost three, likely four, of its top seven receivers from last season. Ross was suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules, and it’s unclear what his chances, if any, are to return. Gary Bush caught 41 passes for 360 yards and seven touchdowns last season, the most of any returnee.