AT COLORADO: This Season (Sr.)— He started 11 games at tailback, missing one start against Oklahoma State (played sparingly), and earned honorable mention all-Big 12 honors from both the Associated Press and the league coaches. His teammates selected him as the team most valuable player (Zack Jordan Award), and the coaches named him the winner of the John Mack Award as the team’s most outstanding offensive player. He also won the Buffalo Heart Award, which is selected by the “fans behind the bench” and given to the player that displays in their estimation the most heart, and was CU’s offensive back of the week for three games (Colorado State, Kansas State and Nebraska). He was one of 42 candidates on the official watch list for the Doak Walker Award, and was posting very comparable numbers to the top contenders until beset by injuries. Purify battled through separations to both shoulders, along with other assorted maladies, to post the 13th 1,000-yard season in school history as he finished the year as the conference’s sixth-leading running back with 1,017 yards (43rd in the NCAA). He finally led the team in rushing (he entered his senior year tied for the second most career yards without doing so), and his 3,016 career total placed him third on CU’s all-time list. He had 10 career 100-yard games, tying him for seventh most, and his 3,524 all-purpose yards were the fourth most ever at Colorado. With 508 receiving yards, he became the first player in school history to record 2,500 and 3,000 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving, and was only the 11th to do the 3,000/500 double at a Big 12 school. He tied for 30th in receptions (50), was 52nd in receiving yards (508) and tied for 26th in scoring (126 points) and 16th in rushing touchdowns (20). Top games as a senior included a season-high 189 in the opener against Colorado State, with 155 against Kansas State and 130 at both Texas A&M and Nebraska; CU was 4-1 in the five games when he rushed for over 100 yards. He also scored nine touchdowns, caught 14 passes for 165 yards and earned 46 first downs (40 rush, 6 receiving). Due to his receiving a medical redshirt for his fourth-year senior season, and because he played enough plays to letter that same year, he earned his fifth letter, only the sixth Buff to ever do so and the first since Clare Coffin in 1908. He had another fine spring, as the coaches named him the Fred Casotti Award winner as the team’s most outstanding offensive back; Street & Smith’s cited him as a preseason honorable mention All-American and he was on the official watch list for the Doak Walker Award.
2003 (Sr.-RS)—He had his season cut short due to a nasty high ankle sprain in the third game of the year against Washington State; it eventually required surgery and he thus received a medical redshirt for the season. He played in just the three games (two starts), as he rushed 13 times for 31 yards and two touchdowns in the opener against Colorado State, including the game winning score from nine yards out with 40 seconds remaining. He had 22 carries for 80 yards and a TD the following week versus UCLA, and was running hard against Washington State when he went down: he had 17 carries for 56 yards, but of his 62 yards on rushing gains, 59 came after he was first hit. He thus had 167 yards for the season, still the second most on the team, with 14 of his 52 carries going for five or more yards (nine 10-plus). He also caught four passes for 27 yards, two of those for 20 yards in the Washington State game. Going in, he was one of 39 candidates for the Doak Walker Award, was a preseason second-team All-Big 12 choice by The Sporting News and Lindy’s Big 12 Football, while Phil Steele’s College Football had ranked him as the nation’s No. 27 running back entering the season. He was one of 13 players to earn CU’s prestigious Spring Victory Club honors for his efforts during spring drills.
2002 (Jr.)—He earned honorable mention All-Big 12 honors from the league coaches, and the CU coaches named him to CU’s prestigious Victory Club. As the second half of the nation’s most prolific 1-2 rushing punch (with Chris Brown), he had 739 yards on 132 carries, a healthy 5.6 average per carry, with three touchdowns. He had a pair of 100-yard games, which came back-to-back when he rushed for 119 yards on 19 tries in CU’s overtime win at Missouri, and followed that up with 174 yards on 20 carries against Iowa State. He had 70-plus yards in five games, and on the year, he had 24 rushes for 10 or more yards and 44 for five or longer. Also dangerous as a receiver, he was second on the team in receiving as well with 21 catches for 224 yards, a 10.7 average; he scored a receiving TD on a 36-yard catch and run against Texas Tech. He was third on the team in first downs earned with 46 (33 rushing, 13 receiving). Overall, he had 96 all-purpose yards, going over 100 yards four times, all against quality opponents (128 at UCLA, 102 at Oklahoma, 128 at Missouri and 183 vs. Iowa State). A nasty high ankle sprain limited him to just a couple of plays in the Big 12 championship game and kept him out of the Alamo Bowl against Wisconsin; otherwise, he appeared in 13 games, including a start at Nebraska. He participated in conditioning drills only in spring ball as he was recovering from shoulder surgery and was thus held out of contact (he had the surgery in January).
2001 (Soph.)—He earned honorable mention all-Big 12 honors from the Associated Press, and also earned his way on to CU’s prestigious Victory Club by grading out with a winning performance in at least eight games. He played in all 13 games including the Fiesta Bowl, making one start (Missouri) as he finished second on the team in rushing with 916 yards on 157 carries, a most healthy 5.8 yards per carry. He ranked eighth in the Big 12 and 62nd in the NCAA in rushing for the season. He scored five touchdowns and also caught 11 passes for 92 yards. He had three 100-plus yard games, topped by a 21-for-191 effort against Colorado State; others included a 20-for-154 day against Nebraska and a 23-for-109 effort at Oklahoma State. He came close on two other occasions with 92 yards against both San Jose State and Missouri. His long run of the year came in the Big 12 title game against Texas, as a 51-yard jaunt helped set up a Buff touchdown. A member of the “hands” team, he recovered an Iowa State on-side kick attempt late in the game to help preserve CU’s 40-27 win. He rushed six times for 19 yards in the bowl game, with a long run of 15 yards.
2000 (Fr.)—He had the misfortune of breaking a bone in his foot on the first day of practice, forcing him to miss the first six weeks of the season. He bounced back, though, and played in the final five games of the year, including one start (against Oklahoma State). He gained 177 yards on 45 carries, a 3.9 average, on the season, with his best game coming in the snow against Iowa State, when he had 78 yards on just 11 carries. He earned eight first downs on the year.
HIGH SCHOOL—As a senior, he earned PrepStar and SuperPrep All-America honors, with Rivals.com naming him to its Top 100 running backs list (No. 75 nationally) in the preseason, while SuperPrep ranked him as its No. 13 skill athlete. He was a first-team all-Colorado and all-state selection by the Denver Post, while the Rocky Mountain News named him second-team all-state; both newspapers placed him on their state blue chip lists. He earned first-team all-conference honors as a junior and senior (second-team as a sophomore), and he was also honorable mention all-state as a junior (Post). As a senior, he rushed 269 times for 2,102 yards and 24 touchdowns, averaging 7.8 yards per carry and finishing second in the state overall. He also caught eight passes for 115 yards, and had seven games where he rushed for over 200 yards (and five for over 250 yards). He played sporadically on defense as a senior, seeing action at cornerback usually in goal-line situations. He may have led the nation in blocked kicks—he had seven (five extra points and two field goals). As a junior, he led the state’s 5A schools in rushing with 1,865 yards on 295 carries, scoring 23 touchdowns in averaging 6.3 per attempt despite playing tailback in just eight games. He had 14 touchdown runs of 50 yards or longer, and had two interceptions playing free safety and some corner on defense. He rushed 90 times for 700 yards and 11 touchdowns as a sophomore. He had a two 300-yard plus games in his career: the first in a rout of Lakewood his junior year, when he had 17 carries for 360 yards and five TDs—and he only played in the first half. In a 48-42 win over Coronado as a senior, he had 38 carries for 396 yards and five touchdowns; he also had 275 yards and four touchdowns versus Doherty that same year. Palmer was 5-5 his senior year, 3-7 his junior season and 2-8 his sophomore year under coach Rod Baker. He rushed for 71 yards on 16 carries in the All-State game (June 2000) to end his prep career. He lettered three times in basketball (guard), averaging 10 points, seven assists and eight rebounds per game as a senior. He led his team to the 5A state championship and a 24-0 record, as he was named the MVP of the tournament by the Rocky Mountain News. He also lettered in track (high jump and relays). He finished sixth in the state in the high jump as a junior, clearing 6-5.
ACADEMICS—He is majoring in sociology at Colorado, and is on schedule to graduate this December.
PERSONAL—Born December 19, 1981 in Long Beach, Calif. He is well versed in sign language, which he learned as a sophomore in high school; he helped coach his younger brother’s Pop Warner football team, which had a few deaf youngsters. He has a most famous uncle, Webster Slaughter, who was a wide receiver at San Diego State who went on stardom in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns and Houston Oilers. And remember the pop-soul group James & Bobby Purify from the 1960’s? They were cousins—James is his uncle and Bobby his grandfather. They teamed on such songs as ”I’m Your Puppet,” “Let Love Come Between Us,” and a popular remake of “Shake A Tail Feather.” He was the second member of the 2000 class to commit, doing so officially on April 7, 1999.
RUSHING High Games RECEIVING High Games
Season G Att Yds Avg. TD Long Att Yds No Yds Avg. TD Long Rec Yds
2000 5 45 177 3.9 0 14 12 78 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0
2001 12 157 916 5.8 5 51 23 191 11 92 8.4 0 20 4 28
2002 13 132 739 5.6 3 50 20 174 21 224 10.7 1 36t 6 57
2003 3 52 167 3.2 3 18 24 80 4 27 6.8 0 19 2 20
2004 12 209 1017 4.9 9 48 26 189 14 165 11.8 0 35 3 56
Totals 45 595 3016 5.1 20 51 26 191 50 508 10.2 1 36t 6 57