Purdue defensive tackle Ra'Zahn Howard will not return for the 2016 season according to GBI earlier this morning:
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 was basically a three-year starter with 47 career tackles and three sacks. At 6'3" 325 he was a beefy defensive lineman that took up space and was projected to be a major contributor in 2016. With the additional departure of Dan Monteroso he is the second senior that played as a true freshman in Darrell Hazell's first season to leave in recent weeks.
More importantly, Purdue is now razor thin at defensive tackle. Jake Replogle and Eddy Wilson are good starters, but there is virtually no depth behind them. Fred Brown is coming off of a redshirt year. Keiwan Jones is coming off of ACL surgery. Will Colmery and Langston newton have barely been used, and Ryan DeBusk is a walk-on. Lorenzo Neal Jr. and Anthony Watts both may need to play out of necessity as incoming freshmen.