This is only the beginning.

Thumbprints coated the phone screen of nearly every Purdue fan on Wednesday, as they frantically scrolled through their social media timelines, trying to digest every morsel of the Jeff Brohm-to-Tennessee rumors.

One minute, it was a done deal. Tennessee was just a few short hours from announcing it had landed its next head football coach. The next minute, a recruit shared a photo a snapped with Brohm and defensive coordinator Nick Holt, both proudly cloaked in the black and gold.

Twitter. Am I right?

A mushroom cloud of smoke all but evaporated when another recruit tweeted a screenshot of a brief but telling conversation he had with Brohm. In just two short messages, Brohm silenced all the rumors.

Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

“Hey coach are you really leaving?” Indianapolis native Elijah Bell asked.

“Just landed off airplane. Those reports are false!” Brohm responded.

A day full of sweaty palms, squinting eyes and pounding hearts was finally over. Purdue won the battle. The loud, collective sigh of relief out of West Lafayette is still echoing.

But rest assured, this will happen again.

It never really made much sense for Brohm to leave after just one season, especially for a program that might be an even larger, steaming pile of you-know-what than Purdue was when he inherited the program last December. He just won the Old Oaken Bucket and clinched a bowl berth for the first time since 2012. And he did it with a near-capacity crowd filling Ross-Ade Stadium.

Brohm is adored in West Lafayette. Why bolt for an unappreciative fan base with unreasonable expectations?

Bigger programs will eventually start courting the Boilermakers head coach. The price tag to keep him in West Lafayette is going to skyrocket. As Purdue continues to improve on the field, so will Brohm’s market appeal.

Such is a life for the coach who took on of the worst FBS programs from a season ago and posted a 6-6 record, exceeding every single expectation in his first year.

His success, matched with his blue-collar attitude and offensive ingenuity is going to entice wealthier suitors.

Purdue might be safe this offseason. It might even be able to avoid the chaos after the 2018 season. Beyond that? Athletic director Mike Bobinski better be willing to install a swimming pool filled with cash inside Brohm’s home. He might even want to start thinking about it now, actually.

 Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Purdue isn’t a destination job. It’s a much better landing spot than it was, pouring money into new facilities and making renovations around its athletic complex. It’s becoming a more competitive place to coach and can transition into one of the better opportunities in the B1G.

But while the Boilermakers are finally catching up with the rest o the conference, it will never match the tradition, pride and culture of some of the blueblood programs. Eventually, those places will be looking for new head coaches, too.

Some of those offers are going to be difficult to turn down. And if Louisville — Brohm’s alma mater — comes calling once the Bobby Petrino era is over?

It’s been nice knowin’ ya, Jeff.

Yes, Purdue won this time. And make no mistake, this was its most important victory of the season. Even bigger than returning the Old Oaken Bucket to West Lafayette.

But that feeling on Wednesday? Get used to that. Maybe get a prescription for blood pressure medication. Soon enough, Brohm is going to be at the top of everyone’s list.

Wednesday was only the beginning.