football Edit

Defensive tackle Ra'Zahn Howard won't return to Purdue

Tom Campbell

Defensive tackle Ra'Zahn Howard won't return to Purdue for his senior season.

Howard was suspended in January and didn't participate in spring practice or any team activities for the spring semester. In a text message, Howard said he missed the spring because of an academic issue. Purdue never specified why he was suspended, but Coach Darrell Hazell said Howard had been given a timeline to meet conditions in order to be reinstated to the program.

Howard and Hazell have a meeting scheduled Monday, and Hazell is expected to release a statement after that meeting.

Howard, though, is ready to move forward.

"Purdue has been more than good to me," Howard said in a text. "I just need to go to a program where I can be utilized to my full potential and reach my peak and put all the pieces together for my last year."

Howard said he isn't sure just yet where his next stop will be, but he said other schools in the Big Ten have "reached out."

Howard never quite lived up to the potential coaches' projected for him when he arrived at Purdue. In three seasons, he had only 47 total tackles and three sacks in 29 games.

But it's a blow — at least talent-wise — without him on the roster.

The Boilermakers likely will start sophomore Eddy Wilson in Howard's place alongside senior Jake Replogle on the interior. But there's little proven depth at nose tackle or defensive tackle. During spring ball, walk-on Ryan DeBusk, little-used Langston Newton and Keiwan Jones (coming off ACL surgery) all got No. 2 snaps.

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