It seems likely that the Purdue football program’s new recruiting class will benefit coach Jeff Brohm on the field, but there’s no doubt it will help him at the bank.
Under the terms of his contract, Brohm will get a $45,000 bonus because the class was ranked among the nation’s 25 best by at least one of the outlets specified in an incentive provision of his agreement. The group was 25th in both the ESPN and 247Sports Composite rankings. (It was ranked 26th by rivals.com, the other outlet listed in the agreement.)
The provision was part of Brohm’s original deal with Purdue from December 2016, so it was written before college football began implementing an early signing period in December 2017. As a result, a determination of whether the recruiting bonus has been achieved still connects to the ranking of Purdue’s class within 10 days of “National Signing Day,” which was this past Wednesday.
Bonuses connected specifically to recruiting success rarely are built into coaches’ contracts. But Purdue’s arrangement with Brohm is not unprecedented. When Mike Locksley worked for Maryland as an assistant coach from 2012 through 2015, his renown as a recruiter resulted in his deal including two bonuses — $25,000 if a Terrapins class was ranked in the top 40 nationally by at least one of a specified set of outlets and/or $20,000 if a class was ranked among the top four in Maryland’s conference by at least one of the outlets.
When Purdue hired Brohm from Western Kentucky with an initial annual compensation of $3.3 million, it had been struggling with recruiting. In the prior three years, the Boilermakers’ incoming classes had been ranked 61st, 55th and 69th nationally by ESPN, and 80th, 67th and 70th in the 247Sports Composite. And Brohm’s predecessor, Darrell Hazell, had a 9-33 record (3-24 in the Big Ten).
Brohm’s 2017 recruiting class was 59th by ESPN, 72nd in the 247Sports Composite.
After the 2017 season, when Purdue went 7-6 with a win in the Foster Farms Bowl, Brohm’s contract was amended and his pay increased to $3.8 million for the 2018 season. But the bonus provision remained, and Brohm still didn’t get close to triggering it. He and his staff signed a group that was ranked 46th by ESPN, 49th by rivals and 51st in the 247Sports Composite.
This time, Purdue’s recruiting broke through following a 6-7 season that included a bowl loss, but also upset victories over then-No. 2-ranked Ohio State and Iowa.
Before his recruiting success, Brohm was pursued by his alma mater, Louisville, which had fired Bobby Petrino. He chose to remain at Purdue, and it is expected that his contract again will be renegotiated, but nothing has been made public yet.