INDIANAPOLIS – New Purdue quarterback Robert Marve beat LeBron James to the punch and now he is ready to restart his career.
In a press conference televised on ESPN, Marve announced last year that he would play for Purdue after transferring from Miami.
Just like when the Miami Heat's expectations rose when James made his choice, Purdue's expectations went through the roof after landing Marve.
Purdue coach Danny Hope said Marve immediately made Purdue a better program. Now, after sitting out a year as required by NCAA transfer rules, Marve will lead the Boilermakers for the first time on Saturday at Notre Dame.
"I'm looking forward to showing everybody what I've got, I'm looking forward for Purdue," Marve said Tuesday. "It's an exciting time for the program, for coach Hope and all the players."
At Miami, Marve threw more interceptions than touchdowns and didn't play in the bowl game because he was academically ineligible. But his strong arm and mobility stand out.
Then there's that swagger.
"He's a commanding guy," receiver Justin Siller said. "He's a perfectionist. He demands the best from our offense all the time. He's a great leader, a great quarterback and a great guy to have leading your offense and your team."
Teammates say Marve's preparation and work ethic match his talent.
"He really knows his assignments, and he makes sure the receivers are on top of their game," running back Al-Terek McBurse said. "He's going to get the ball to them."
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, who tried to recruit Marve to Cincinnati, is aware of the redshirt junior's talent.
"He's a dual threat quarterback, and I think it starts with his ability to keep plays alive," Kelly said. "He's shown that he's got great athletic ability."
Marve opened his Miami career at Florida in 2008, then led the Hurricanes to a win at Texas A&M the next week. He expects that experience to serve him well at Notre Dame Stadium.
"It gives me an extreme advantage," he said. "Playing in the Swamp, you can't even hear yourself talk. It's extremely loud. I'm expecting that same type of atmosphere."
Marve became Miami's starting quarterback in the second game of the 2008 season. He made 11 consecutive starts and helped guide Miami to five straight wins from Oct. 11 to Nov. 13. He threw for 1,293 yards with nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions that season.
He was held out of the Emerald Bowl as a punishment for missing class. Jacory Harris started in the 24-17 loss to California and was selected the starter entering 2009, prompting Marve to leave on unpleasant terms.
He feels he has forged a new path at Purdue.
"I feel good about playing football," he said. "Everybody can say what they want to say. I don't think that image is there anymore. I stay focused. I've done everything the coaches have asked."
"I've just got to do it one play at a time," he said. "There's not anything you can prove to all your fans, the program and everybody across the country in one play."
Hope, who has done his share to raise expectations, said Marve is still learning Purdue's version of the spread offense. Plus, Marve hasn't played in a game in nearly two years.
"It's important that we have a package put together for Robert that he's comfortable with," Hope said. "Can't go in there with the whole playbook. It's too much. We're going to do the things we're good at and try to do them to some degree of excellence, better than our opponent."
Hope isn't worried about Marve doing his part.
"We have to get Robert in position to be successful," Hope said. That's up to the coaches, play-calling-wise and scheme-wise, to get him in a position to be successful. If he's successful, our team is going to be successful."