By Craig Beilfuss

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN– Former Mona Shores standout and current Purdue Boilermaker Jacob Wahlberg will be looking to make a big splash for the Big Ten team this coming fall.

Recently, Wahlberg was part of the football event that culminated the Boilermakers’ spring practice sessions. It wasn’t the normal “spring game” due to the ongoing $45.5 million Phase I renovation at Ross-Ade Stadium to conclude its 2023 spring practices.
First-year head coach Ryan Walters and the Boilermakers conducted a final practice at Folk Field on Saturday, April 22. Due to limited space, the practice was closed to the general public. Only student-athlete families and Purdue football alumni were permitted to attend.

Wahlberg, a redshirt senior, is coming off a successful 2022 season in which he had a career-high 41 tackles along with one interception. While he was not a starting linebacker, who was on the field for a significant amount of the snaps.

The 2019 Mona Shores graduate had his best game on September 24 against Florida Atlantic when he had eight tackles.

“I was able to play a lot of really good football, it was a good season,” Wahlberg said. “A lot of hard work really paid off.”

Another career highlight of Wahlberg’s career includes being named Academic All-Big Ten in 2021. In 2020, he didn’t see action on the field but was selected Academic All-Big Ten. As a freshman, he appeared in four games as a reserve.

“It definitely hasn’t been the easiest career and it hasn’t been easy to deal with,” he said. “I’ve had two new head coaches during my career. I’ve had five different defensive position coaches in four years. Each coach brings different and new things to learn and grow.”

Wahlberg has graduated with a Selling and Sales Management Degree and is pursuing a Masters in Communications and Leadership. 

The Boilermakers are coming off a 2022 season where they finished with an 8-6 overall record, 6-3 in the Big Ten West Division and a first-place finish. They finished the season on a sour note as they lost to Michigan 43-22 in the Big Ten Championship game. Then lost 63-7 to LSU in the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl.

“The Michigan game was a really cool experience,” Wahlberg said. “The outcome wasn’t what we wanted. It was good game for three quarters. Our goal was to win the Big Ten West and we accomplished that.”

“Following the Michigan game, Coach Jeff Brohm left for Louisville and took most of the staff here with him,” Wahlberg said. “That basically left us with four of five coaches remaining on the staff to get ready for a bowl game. We had players who declared for the NFL Draft and so they sat at the bowl game against LSU. Basically, half of our starters sat out of that game and so it made it difficult to compete with a team as good as LSU.” 

Purdue opens the season at home against Fresno State on Saturday, Sept. 2. The schedule is a tough one this year as the Boilermakers also will host Ohio State on October 14 and travel to Michigan on Nov. 4 to take on the Wolverines.

Wahlberg will have a new head coach and defensive coordinator at Purdue this season as Walters was announced as the 37th head coach in Purdue back in December. He previously served as the defensive coordinator for Illinois.

Joining Walters staff as the defensive coordinator is Kevin Kane, who was named to that position soon after Walters took on the head coaching duties back in December. He joined Walters after the duo put together one of the fiercest defenses in the nation over two seasons at Illinois.

Photos provided by Krock Photography