Domhoff's path leads to Purdue

Ti Domhoff thought his football career was over just a few months ago, after having surgery on his torn labrum. Through a twist of fate, he will now be a Purdue Boilermaker, accepting a walk-on spot with the program.

Ti Domhoff has accepted a preferred walk-on spot with Purdue. A standout at St. Xavier (OH) High School, he made the decision official on Wednesday, just weeks after head coach Darrell Hazell extended the invitation. However, Domhoff's path to Purdue wasn't easy.

The summer before his senior season, Ti Domhoff had options. For the quarterback, there were college choices from all over the Midwest. Then, it all fell apart.

Domhoff was working in a summer passing drill when he threw a simple five-year hitch route. It lacked any semblance of velocity. The quarterback wasn't the same.

A visit at the doctor revealed Domhoff had a torn labrum. His high-school playing career was over, and possibly even his football career. It was a harsh reality.

"It was tough," Domhoff said. "It was very emotional for me."

As Domhoff progressed through rehabilitation, he accepted the fact that football was over. The idea of strapping on the pads again seemed too daunting.

"When you can't even raise your arm, and you're crying yourself to sleep at night, you're just thinking, is it worth it to play another four or five years," Domhoff said.

Domhoff's fortunes changed just a month ago. His phone rang, and it was new Purdue head coach Darrell Hazell on the other line. Hazell had recruited Domhoff to Kent State during his junior season, but that was before the injury.

Hazell wanted to offer a preferred walk-on spot to Domhoff. The quarterback wasn't expecting any recruiting interest, and had already declared his football career was over. The offer came as a great surprise.

"I was kind of overwhelmed," said Domhoff. "You go from thinking that you're not going to play to hearing from Coach Hazell. I had to rethink this whole decision."

Domhoff was sold. The faith shown by Hazell made it impossible to say no.

"When somebody says they still believe in you, that gives you all the confidence in the world," Domhoff said.

The relationship between Domhoff and Hazell is strong. It stems from mutual trust.

"Whether I play a down or not at Purdue, I knew I was going to have special four or five years there because I'm going to be playing for Coach Hazell."

Now healthy and eager to retake the field, Domhoff's path to Purdue wasn't easy, but it ended perfectly.

Chris Emma has covered recruiting, college athletics and professional baseball for FOX Sports Next since 2009. Emma covered the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Northwestern Wildcats, and currently covers the Purdue Boilermakers. A Chicago native, he resides in West Lafayette.
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