- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
Kawann Short didn't make a rash decision on whether to remain at Purdue for his senior season or enter the NFL draft.
He laid out the pros and cons in the days following Purdue's win in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. He talked extensively with his mom, who like any mother, wants her son to earn his college degree. He also reached out to former Boilermakers teammates and current NFL defensive linemen Ryan Kerrigan and Mike Neal.
Short received a third-round grade from the NFL draft advisory board, which didn't disappoint him. He also faced the uncertainty of playing for a new defensive coordinator for the third straight year, as Purdue parted ways with Gary Emanuel after the bowl game.
"Every day is something different, like yeah, should I go, or yeah, should I stay," Short said Friday. "That whole week was pretty interesting."
Ultimately, he decided to return. The desire to boost his draft stock and complete his degree brought him back to Purdue, a team that could make some noise in a wide-open Leaders division in 2012.
The correspondence with both Neal and Kerrigan helped Short during the process. Neal received a fifth-round grade after the 2008 season but opted to return and was selected in the second round of the 2010 draft by the Green Bay Packers.
Kerrigan also finished his career at Purdue, earning unanimous All-America honors as a senior before becoming a first-round pick of the Washington Redskins last April. He starred for the Redskins this past season and made the NFL's all-rookie team.
"Both of their speeches were pretty amazing," Short said.
The big gamble for Short in returning to Purdue is the coordinator change. He excelled in Emanuel's system, earning All-Big Ten honors the past two seasons and recording 12.5 sacks and 29.5 tackles for loss during the span.
Short asked himself questions like: What's next? What scheme will they bring in? Will it mess me up or benefit the whole team?
Like many, he was caught off guard by Emanuel's departure, which took place while players were on winter break. He found out after teammates started calling and texting.
"I thought everything was good," he said. "A couple days later you find out coach is leaving and a new defensive coordinator [is coming in]."
Short has yet to talk with new Boilers coordinator Tim Tisebar, who comes to Purdue from the CFL's Montreal Alouettes.
"I heard he's a pretty good guy, coming from [strength coach Duane Carlisle]," Short said. "I don't think he’ll steer us in the wrong direction. ... I don't know what type of defense he'll run or what scheme. I just have to step up and face it."
Short wants to become one of the nation's elite defensive linemen in 2012. He aims to become an every-down player and improve areas like endurance, flexibility and quickness. He hopes to become a captain again -- "Hopefully, I'll get re-voted," he said with a laugh.
"The draft can make you or break you," Short said. "There's a lot of stuff I know I need to work on."