Aug. 13--With football practice having ended, the coach is giving the Chicagoan a tour of Purdue's rolling campus. We're in a six-passenger golf cart. The coach is flooring it.

As we approach Cherry Lane, which splits Purdue's golf courses, the coach says into his cellphone: "Lemme call you back. I'm about to go on the street."

We check out the baseball and softball stadiums.

We zoom by some cops. A friendly wave.

We pass Scott Horton, Purdue's director of video production, and the coach hollers: "Eight days till soccer kickoff, Scott. Be great!"

We get a peek at the swimming pool under construction at the home of Jeff Brohm, the Boilermakers' head football man.

Ding.

The coach receives a text with some glorious recruiting news. He can't mention the player, per NCAA rules, but he also can't contain his enthusiasm. Brohm has beaten Alabama's Nick Saban and Notre Dame's Brian Kelly for a four-star cornerback from Texas.

"I'm running around the neighborhood in my underwear!" the coach screams into his phone to a Purdue staffer. "It's a great (bleeping) time to be a Purdue Boilermaker!"

The coach has bravado. He has chutzpah.

What he doesn't have is a driver's license. Or a high school degree. Shoot, he's entering the ninth grade. He is 14 years old.

Brady Brohm goes by @coachbradybrohm on Instagram. The head coach's son has more than 8,000 Twitter followers, including Brady Quinn and Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports, ESPN's Maria Taylor, Andy Staples and Mitch Sherman of The Athletic and streams of fans who shout "Boiler up!" on fall Saturdays.

He is Purdue's unofficial "get back" coach, a designation that's as straightforward as a ham sandwich. During games he coaxes coaches to get back, lest they pick up a sideline warning or unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty. (Strength coaches also help.)

But that's only one page from his playbook. If a recruit's birthday is coming, Brady makes sure staffers know it. If the practice schedule errantly says 3:30 a.m. instead of p.m., he'll alert someone in operations. He hands out parking passes. And he's a liaison between players and coaches on matters such as pregame meals.

"That's my dog; he's like one of us, man," star receiver/returner Rondale Moore said. "He'll shoot me a text: Are you good? He'll send me a random Snapchat. Brady is a good dude. And he has all the perks."

He buzzes around during practices, schmoozing with fans, reporters and NFL scouts.

"He's in the ninth grade?" asks Mike Lacy, who scouts for the Colts. "Blows my mind."

Brady is 6-foot-1, as precocious as he is tall for his age. One day in search of milkshakes, he headed to the McDonald's drive-through -- in the golf cart.

"Never seen that before," the cashier said. "That'll be $12.79."

What's crazy is his father, the bold play designer who makes more than $5 million a year, is the one who blends in at practice.

"He is the opposite of me," Jeff Brohm says. "He loves to express his opinion. Doesn't think before he speaks a whole lot, and there's always some truth to what he says."

During a 2017 interview on the Big Ten Network, Mike Hall asked Brady what he tells his dad before a game.

Brady: "Don't make them stupid decisions like he did at Marshall."

Jeff, chuckling, replied: "They keep you grounded."

Jeff says now: "He loves being around people and supporting the program. And he is competitive."

Brady has been by his father's side forever. OK, almost.

"We went to the Orange Bowl (with Louisville) when I was about a month old," he says. "Ever since then, I've always been around."

When the Brohms were at Western Kentucky, the Hilltoppers opened the 2015 season at Vanderbilt. Brady scanned the travel list and noticed stud quarterback Brandon Doughty's name was missing because of a copy-paste error.

Brady immediately called the offending staffer -- his uncle Greg Brohm.

"I'll never hear the end of it," Greg says with a laugh. "He's like: 'Greg, what do you think about (offensive lineman) Maurice Bennett playing quarterback this week? We're gonna do great!'

"Brady will speak his mind. He has no inhibitions."

Last year Brady noticed staffers and coaches were a little late on the Sunday morning after a game. With an open week ahead, they weren't so eager to arrive by 7 a.m.

Brady texted Greg, who is Purdue's operations chief: "What do y'all think this is? We have to win our next game!"

Greg recalled the time a camera crew showed up at the airport to interview Western Kentucky players as they were about to board a flight. When Greg asked who gave permission, media members pointed to Brady.

"He was 10," Greg says. "But the guy looked at him and thought: He's in charge. He carries himself with authority."

Players joke that they don't think Brady actually goes to school. For the record, he attends Central Catholic in Lafayette, Ind. He stopped playing football in seventh grade, bumming out his dad.

"The best way to put it," Jeff says, "is that he was a lineman who probably said: 'I'm not a skill guy. I don't know if this is for me.' But he loves being around it. He wants everybody to do their part and he gets upset if they don't."

Brady is not permitted to contact recruits directly because his actions would be presumed an extension of his father's, Purdue compliance official Brad Boswell said via email. He is permitted to like and retweet recruits' tweets, as is any member of the general public.

Last week he retweeted several heralding the addition of that four-star cornerback, Christian Gonzalez. The Dallas-area native's brother-in-law happens to be former Purdue quarterback David Blough.

"Choo-choo!!" Brady tweeted. "A BIG TIME addition for the #BrohmSquad."

___

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