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June 27, 2013

GoldandBlack.com's top athletes: No. 2

A national champion, a professional draft pick, All-Americans, All-Big Ten selections and some conference champions highlight our annual list of Purdue's athletes-of-the-year.

We continue our list with Kawann Short at No. 2, as GoldandBlack.com takes a subjective look at the top 10 Boilermakers from 2012-13.

Bio: Dominant defensive tackle who anchored line as a senior

Summary: Short was fully aware of his limitations.

With his sights set on being a high NFL draft pick, Short knew he'd have to show scouts and his potential bosses there was a higher motor residing within his 300-plus-pound frame.

So he went to work in the offseason leading into his senior year to get in better shape, even skipping fast food meals and parking his car farther away to have to walk long distances to classes.

His effort led to dominant performances early in the season - he had four sacks in the first four games and an eight-tackle game against Michigan in Week 5 - while exhibiting a relentless attack. He also had three blocked kicks in that five-game span.

But, then, those around him on Purdue's defensive line started to get hurt. Frequently and consistently. As a result, Short rarely left the field. His own injury knocked him out of the Minnesota game.

He started to take plays off again, trying to conserve energy because he was getting so many snaps.

Ultimately, he thinks that cost him hearing his name called in the NFL's first round. But it didn't stop him from still having a strong season to finish his career.

Short finished the season with 15.5 tackles for a loss, including seven sacks, and was named a second team AP All-American.

"I feel like I did a pretty good job," Short said. "It wasn't 100 percent. It was more like 93 percent. But I felt like I did a good job and I felt like I changed a lot of ideas in people's mind as far as guys I played with and guys outside the room. I did a lot of positive things this year."

Months later, Short was selected by the Carolina Panthers in the second round of the draft.

"Not everybody gets drafted, so you've got to cherish that," Short said at his draft party. "This is something that's always going to be part of me. It's what I expected, as far as getting drafted. I worked hard for this. It's just a good feeling.

"I've got a job now. There's still a lot of things behind me. That's probably one of the reasons I didn't just go first round, just the inconsistency and the motor. Over 31 teams skipped me, so going in with the Carolina Panthers now and playing against any other team, I've got to destroy it."

Analysis: Short's face is plastered on a banner in Mollenkopf now, joining the rest of the program's All-Americans.

"That was a goal at the beginning of the year, just to get my face next to Ryan Kerrigan's, my smile next to Ryan Kerrigan's," Short said, smiling.

He certainly cemented himself as one of Purdue's all-time greats.

Though no official records are kept, Short's 50 career starts are thought to be among the school's most. His six field goal blocks are more than any player in school history. He also has two extra point blocks.

His 49 tackles for a loss rank No. 7 all time. His 19.5 sacks rank eighth on the career list.

No. 10: Terone Johnson
No. 9: Drey Mingo
No. 8: A.J. Hammons
No. 7: Dani Bunch
No. 6: Sam Ostarello
No. 5: Ariel Turner
No. 4: Geoff Davis
No. 3: Paula Reto
No. 2: Kawann Short
No. 1: Friday

Copyright, Boilers, Inc. 2013. All Rights Reserved. Reproducing or using editorial or graphical content, in whole or in part, without permission, is strictly prohibited. E-mail GoldandBlack.com/Boilers, Inc.

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