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January 22, 2013

Tight end commits

Darrell Hazell is known for his stoic, composed demeanor.

But when tight end Matt Burke called the new Boilermaker coach Tuesday night to verbally commit to Purdue, it sounds like he was anything but.

The conversation started with Burke asking Hazell about Purdue's still-vacant offensive coordinator and tight ends coaching positions.

"Then I just said, 'Coach I'm going to cut to the chase here: My family and I were all really blown away by Purdue and just loved it and I'd like to make my commitment,'" Burke said. "He went crazy. He exploded. He said, 'Thank God, I'm so happy' and, 'That's one more step toward the Rose Bowl right there.' He couldn't have been happier. It was awesome."

The commitment comes two days after Burke's official visit to West Lafayette.

"It was great to get it over with," Burke said of his decision. "... I feel beyond relieved right now. Purdue was a slam dunk. It was unbelievable. My parents and I, we couldn't have been happier, honestly. We knew it was the right fit.

"I almost committed on Sunday actually. I just really wanted to come home and think about it and make sure it was definitely the right place. I had that feeling yesterday but wanted to make sure I talked to my head coach first, and I got to do that. So I made my decision."

The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Rivals.com three-star prospect from Cardinal Newman in West Palm Beach, Fla., chose Purdue after taking official visits to Boise State, San Diego State and Harvard.

Vanderbilt, Wisconsin, South Florida, Cincinnati and Colorado, along with a few Ivy League schools, are among some of the other programs that recruited him, some of them showing particularly intense interest Monday alone.

Burke's pledge continues a run of commitments for Hazell the past few days, beginning with linebacker Dezwan Polk Saturday and defensive end Antoine Miles a day later.

Burke is the first tight end to join Purdue's anticipated 2013 class.

As a junior at Cardinal Newman, Burke scored six receiving touchdowns among his 29 catches, playing in a run-focused offense.

"I see myself as more of a receiving tight end," he said. "I used to not enjoy blocking very much, but I've come to (realize) that other than scoring a touchdown, there's nothing that feels better than getting a good pancake block. I'm more of a receiving tight end, but I'm pretty to being well balanced, I'd say."

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