Another member of Purdue football’s Cradle of Quarterbacks begins this week’s countdown of the best Boilermakers to wear their numbers.
You can’t have a Cradle of Quarterbacks without outstanding receivers and two very good ones also are appearing this week.
No. 16
The pick: Len Dawson
It's doubtful any Purdue quarterback will have a better first two weeks in gold and black than Dawson did in 1954. Four touchdown passes in a victory against Missouri, followed by four more touchdown passes in an upset of No. 1 Notre Dame.
Dawson was indirectly responsible for a Purdue tradition. Nicknamed the "Golden Boy" following those early performances, Dawson inspired the wife of Purdue band director Al G. Wright to suggest his star baton twirler be dubbed "Golden Girl."
Dawson threw 15 touchdown passes as a sophomore. While injuries limited him to 14 touchdown passes as a junior and senior, he still was a first-round draft pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1957. But it wasn't until reuniting with former Purdue assistant Hank Stram with the AFL's Dallas Texans — which later became the Kansas City Chiefs — that Dawson displayed the talent that would earn him a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Honorable mention: Gilbert Gardner came to Purdue in 2000 hoping to catch passes from Drew Brees. Instead, he became a key member of the Boilermakers defense for four years as a starting linebacker.
No. 17
The pick: Ron DiGravio
DiGravio was Bob Griese’s predecessor at quarterback and his greatest claim to Purdue fame was leading the Boilermakers to only their third and fourth victories ever against Michigan in 1962 and 1963.
He set the tone for 1962's 37-0 home victory with a 54-yard touchdown pass to Tom Fugate on Purdue's first play from scrimmage. DiGravio added touchdown passes of 34 and 58 yards along with a 1-yard sneak for a score. The loss was Michigan's worst in 27 years.
The following year, Purdue's 23-12 triumph was its first in Michigan Stadium. DiGravio led the way with a touchdown pass and a touchdown run.
Honorable mention: Wide receiver Aaron Valentin was one of quarterback Joey Elliott's favorites in 2009, catching 54 passes for 621 yards and seven touchdowns.
No. 18
The pick: Bob Hadrick
Purdue's list of three-time first-team All-Big Ten football selections is a small one: Chuck Kyle, Rod Woodson, Tim Stratton and Hadrick.
The wide receiver was Purdue's Most Valuable Player during his junior season in 1964, and caught 113 passes from Bob Griese during his career for 1,391 yards.
Honorable mention: Although he is best known as an All-American running back at Michigan, Chalmers "Bump" Elliott was a member of Purdue's 1943 undefeated Big Ten Championship team and was on the 1944 squad before reporting for duty in World War II. ... Ross Fichtner succeeded Len Dawson as quarterback in 1957 and was a two-way standout as a defensive back, a position he played for nine seasons in the NFL. ... Gary Danielson endured numerous injuries during his career but still nearly led Purdue to a Big Ten title in 1972 after an 0-3 non-conference start. He owns the school record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a game (213 vs. Washington in 1972) and went on to play for the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns in the NFL. ... Kyle Orton wore No. 18 to honor his late football hero, Nebraska’s Brook Berringer. Orton would have made Berringer proud during his Purdue career from 2001 to 2004. He is the only Purdue quarterback to start four consecutive bowl games (2001, 2002, 2004 Sun Bowl and the 2003 Capital One Bowl). Orton was talked up as a Heisman Trophy hopeful in 2004 when he led Purdue to a 5-0 start with 18 touchdown passes and no interceptions. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL Draft by Chicago and would play 10 seasons for the Bears, Denver, Kansas City, Dallas and Buffalo.
No. 19
The pick: Cris Dishman
Dishman thought he would catch passes from Jim Everett when he came to West Lafayette from Louisville in 1984. Instead, coaches moved Dishman to cornerback - a move that would lead to a 13-year NFL career. While at Purdue, Dishman recorded nine interceptions and was an All-Big Ten selection in 1987.
Honorable mention: Paul Beery (1974-77) also began his career as a wide receiver but made his mark as a defensive back during his junior and senior seasons, Beery collected four interceptions in a 1976 victory against Wisconsin and earned first-team All-Big Ten honors that year. ... Joe Hagins (1993-96) was primarily a linebacker and safety, enjoying a big senior season with 79 tackles (14.5 for loss).
No. 20
The pick: Chris Daniels
Daniels caught a school record 121 passes for 1,256 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior in 1999. His biggest day came against fifth-ranked Michigan State, hauling in 21 passes for 301 yards.
Honorable mention: West Lafayette graduate Jonathan Briggs was almost a sure thing when it came to kicking extra points, making 72 of 74 from 1985 to 1987. His 36 made field goals was a school record until All-American Travis Dorsch broke the record in 2001. ... Eric Jordan was a versatile athlete who was second in rushing for the 1982 Boilermakers with 521 yards, averaging 6.4 yards per carry.

Kenny Thompson is an award winning journalist who writes a weekly column for Sagamore News Media