Big Time Commitment for Purdue

East Chicago, Ind., Kawann Short, a 6-foot-5, 280-pound, defensive tackle, from Central high in East Chicago, Ind., was the first prospect in the Class of 2008 to give Joe Tiller and the Purdue football program a verbal commitment. We caught up with "K.K." to talk about his Purdue verbal commitment as well as his future of playing two sports for the Boilers.

"I committed to Purdue while I was on spring break," Kawann Short told the Boiler Sports Report.

"I went down to Purdue on a Wednesday for one of their spring practices. I liked the campus and all. I liked everything about Purdue. They were my top school choice so I committed."

We asked Central coach A.J. Rodriguez to talk about the time-frame of Short's scholarship offer and eventual verbal commitment.

"Purdue had liked "K.K." for a long time," Coach Rodriguez said.

"I had talked to the Purdue coaches about "K.K" during the basketball season. They liked his athleticism and his feet for a big man. When Kawann called me from West Lafayette during spring break and he told me he committed to Purdue, it was a good feeling.

"This is a pretty big deal for me as a young coach, "K.K." is my first big-time recruit and it's a great feeling to see him doing great things."

There's been a trend of early verbal commitments not sticking when January and February roll along. We asked Short and Coach Rodriguez to talk about just how solid "K.K's" verbal commitment to Purdue is.

"When "K.K." got home from Purdue, I went over to his house, we sat in his car and I flat out asked him if this (commitment to Purdue) is something he really wanted to do so early." Coach Rodriguez explained.

"K.K." said that he was 100% loyal and committed to Purdue. As a coach, you always have things going on in the back of your head like maybe I should make sure he takes his visits but I saw how excited Kawann was and how amped he was about his commitment to Purdue so I wasn't going to try and steer him in another direction.

"I felt like if committing to Purdue was something he (Short) wanted to do then I was 100% behind him and happy for him."

Short is known for his basketball play, leading Central to a state championship as a junior but he didn't do too shabby on the gridiron either.

"On a scale of 1-10, I think I was about a 9 on the football field." Short said. "K.K." had a very good year for us." Coach Rodriguez added. "As a nose-tackle in a 3-4 defense, he (Short) led us in tackles with 80, he had 14 tackles for loss and he also had 8.5 sacks and a few forced fumbles."

Coach Rodriguez told us that Purdue plans on starting Short out as a defensive tackle when he arrives in West Lafayette.

"Coach (Mark) Hagen told us that "K.K." will probably start out as a 3-technique lining up over one of the opposing teams guards in order to take advantage of his athleticism." Rodriguez said.

Short is considered one of the top basketball prospects in the Hoosier State. Is there a possibility of playing both football and basketball for the Boilermakers?

"Coach Tiller told us that "K.K." will have to come in and complete one full year of football before he can start playing basketball." Rodriguez said.

"Kawann will have to come in at the fall of 2008, complete his freshman season, go through winter conditioning, spring drills and that summer and during the fall of 2009 he'll be able to join the basketball team.

"There's also an understanding that "K.K." will have to be one of the top 6 or 7 players on the basketball team. If he's not, Coach Tiller won't let him play basketball."

Kawann Short remains one of the hottest names for both football and basketball and for now he's committed to Purdue but the Boilermaker staff knows they'll have to continue to recruit "K.K." until signing day.

"Coaches are still calling," Coach Rodriguez said. "I tell them that "K.K" is committed to Purdue and he's loyal to his commitment but I sent out a lot of tape from last season and the calls and the inquiries are coming in.

"Coach Hagen told "K.K." that Purdue is going to honor his commitment and they will be loyal to him and that they expect the same from his end and that's fair."

The Boiler Sports Report wants to thank Coach Rodriguez and Kawann Short for their hospitality while we were at Central. Both were class acts and after leaving the high school it was easy to see why Purdue offered Short a scholarship.

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