Top Purdue recruit Swanigan gets clearance

Talented Purdue freshman big man Caleb Swanigan finally received his NCAA clearance, Boilermakers coach Matt Painter told ESPN on Friday.

Sources said the NCAA interviewed both Swanigan and his legal father, agent Roosevelt Barnes, about their relationship while determining Swanigan’s eligibility.

According to Bleacher Report, Barnes — a sports agent who graduated from Purdue — adopted Swanigan in 2011, when he was a 6-foot-2, 360-pound eighth-grader.

Swanigan, who grew up in Lafayette, Indiana, was living in a homeless shelter in Salt Lake City at the time. According to Bleacher Report, his father was battling a substance abuse problem, his mother wasn’t working, and all five of his older siblings had dropped out of high school.

“I adopted Biggie because I loved him unconditionally,” Barnes, 57, told Bleacher Report, using Swanigan’s nickname. “I wanted to show him that, no matter what happened, I wasn’t going anywhere. I felt like it was my responsibility as a man to help this kid, because no one else was going to do it.

“If I was going to go out and get a kid for basketball reasons, I’d go find a Chris Webber or a Shaquille O’Neal — a freak. The only thing freakish thing about [Swanigan] was how many calories he could devour. Maybe if I wanted to develop the next hot dog-eating champion, the next Joey Chestnut, people would have a legitimate gripe.”

Swanigan has lost more than 100 pounds and is now 6-9, 250 pounds.

He was the prize of Painter’s recruiting class, choosing Purdue over Cal and Michigan State after initially committing to play for Tom Izzo and the Spartans. He was a McDonald’s All American and was ranked No. 9 in the ESPN 100 for the Class of 2015.

Purdue opens its season Nov. 13 against North Carolina A&T in West Lafayette.

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