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November 30, 2011

Short expects to be back, as of now

Defensive tackle Kawann Short says he'll consider leaving early for the NFL, but as of now expects to be back at Purdue for his senior season.

"We haven't really sat down and talked about it," Short said of he and defensive coordinator Gary Emanuel. "We're supposed to have a meeting and just throw my name out there for predictions (on draft selection) and see how well I do.

"But as far as me thinking I'm ready, I don't think I'm ready for it … as far as just me knowing I can do a lot more stuff over the summer to get better and prepare for the next level."

Coach Danny Hope, who would undoubtedly love to have the tackle back as the centerpiece of his defense next season, says Short has been a dominant player at times this season. But the third-year coach says Short could benefit from another year, too.

"He's learned to play as hard as he can play on a more consistent basis compared to where he was this time last year," Hope said. "I still think he has a tremendous upside. I think he's similar to (Ryan) Kerrigan in some ways where even though he's had a heck of a year, I still think he can play a lot better and he could be a dominant player on a national level. He has to continue to working hard to get himself in great shape to where he can play all-out on every down. When he gets to that point in time in his level of play, he'll be a very, very special player."

Short was good in 2011, finishing with 17 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks, ranking in a tie for third and tie for fourth in the Big Ten, respectively. He was named first-team All-Big Ten Monday, and the Boilermakers' Defensive MVP.

Being that big, it's going to be hard to go every play," tackle Dennis Kelly said of the 6-foot-4, 310-pound Short, "but he's really done a good job of training himself, getting himself into shape to where he can go to the elite level that he can play at consistently. Another year under his belt, he can be really a big-time player next year."

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