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November 4, 2012

Defensive tackle commits

Defensive tackle Ra'Zahn Howard, a New Jersey native attending prep school in Atlanta, committed to Purdue this weekend during an official visit.

"I just got a good vibe from the coaches and the academic staff with the situation academically and how you can succeed in life after football," Howard said Sunday afternoon. "And then with my favorite defensive tackle, Kawann Short, being there. ... He was a great host this weekend. So were some of the either defensive linemen. And my mother got a nice vibe from the place. It felt like home, like I never left home."

The 6-foot-4, 305-pound lineman will enroll at Purdue in January after spending this post-graduate year at Atlanta Sports Academy. He's from Asbury Park, N.J.

Howard said Ohio State, Iowa and several other Big Ten schools also recruited him.

"Purdue expects me to come in and help fill Kawann Short's shoes immediately," Howard said. "They think I'm an elite defensive tackle, a blue-chip coming in, and they said it's rare they get a defensive lineman like me.

"And with me coming in in January, I've got eight months, all the way up until camp, to get going academically and in workouts."

Defensive tackle is a pressing need for Purdue in the 2013 class, as Short graduates this year and juniors Bruce Gaston, Brandon Taylor and end/tackle Ryan Isaac will after next season.

Howard joins Kyle Shortridge as Purdue's commitments at the position, at least among those specifically recruited for it.

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