Though he has been on campus several times, Homewood-Flossmoor senior-to-be Michael Rouse III has never seen a Purdue football game.
That will change for sure as he will be a part of Purdue football as the 6-foot-4, 315-pound defensive lineman committed to the Boilermakers last week.
"I plan to go to a few games this fall and watch some games in person instead of just on TV," Rouse said. "I am excited to play for Purdue and I am glad to make my decision before the (prep) season."
Rouse's dad, Michael Rouse II, is originally from South Bend and is a Purdue alum. Rouse III said he picked Purdue over Michigan and Illinois. He said the success of Purdue defensive linemen such as Merrillville grad Mike Neal, who was a second-round pick of the Green Bay Packers in April, led him to the Boilers. More than a dozen former Purdue linemen are on current NFL rosters, and senior defensive end Ryan Kerrigan is on the "watch list" for the 2010 Rotary Lombardi Award, which is given to the top college offensive or defensive lineman.
"Purdue has done a great job with their defensive linemen and that really impressed me," Rouse said. "I felt real comfortable with (head) coach (Danny) Hope and (assistant) coach (Mark) Hagen and enjoyed my visit down there."
Rouse plans to major in business and minor in human resources.
Although Rouse was concerned that, with the coaching change at H-F, he might get lost in the shuffle, when Craig Buzea took over for Kenneth Smith, Buzea made sure Rouse got everything in order.
"Buzz helped me a lot and he has sent a lot of players to college, so he knows about that sort of thing," Rouse said. "I was afraid coaches wouldn't know who to contact or how to get a hold of me, especially since we moved during the school year, but Coach Buzea made sure everything was taken care of."
Two former Buzea-coached players in Albert Evans (Portage) and Ryan Isaac (Michigan City) will be on the Purdue roster in the fall. Other local Boilers are Kawann Short (E.C. Central), Dennis Kelly (Marian Catholic) and Connor Snapp (Valparaiso).
Buzea said Rouse reminds him a lot of Isaac, who will be a freshman this fall.
"Michael's got that size, he's 6-4, 315 and he can move real well," Buzea said. "He has a lot of talent, like Ryan. I think Purdue is not only getting a good football player, but also a good student in Michael. He has taken care of everything from the football field to the classroom."