Despite the firing of head coach Danny Hope last month, Champaign (Ill.) High School of St. More athlete John Strauser never questioned his commitment to Purdue. He was relieved, however, to learn the Boilermakers had hired a new head coach on Tuesday evening.
"It gets things rolling again. When Coach Hope got fired it kind of stalled everything out as far as moving along on enrolling. With Coach Hazell getting hired I would assume everything would get rolling again and that's exciting. Also, knowing who you are going to play for is always exciting. I have been on pins and needles waiting to hear about it. I'm looking forward to learning more."
It was widely reported Tuesday night that Purdue had hired Kent State head coach Darrell Hazell. Strauser admitted he knew only a little initially about the Boilermaker's new head man.
"I don't know that much, but obviously I have done some research on it," Strauser said. "I know Coach Hazell coached at Pennsylvania [from 1992-94] and my brother is currently a player there under Coach [Al] Bagnoli. Coach Hazell was the running backs coach for Coach Bagnoli over at Penn. I know that staff at Penn is really good and I would assume Coach Hazell is the same way."
Strauser committed to Purdue this past June over offers from several other Division I programs, and has maintained that commitment throughout.
"I am committed to Purdue and wasn't planning on changing unless something crazy happened," Strauser said. "Nothing crazy happened so far and things are kind of going as planned, so I never really opened my options up and never entertained anything else. It has been Purdue all the way so far."
Strauser was further encouraged by the level of contact and transparency he had with the remaining Purdue staff and athletic department.
"Coach [Kevin] Maurice, the player personnel director, has been really, really good," Strauser said. "Then, [athletic director] Mr. [Morgan] Burke has really been helpful with the recruits and keeping us informed. He gave us an open phone line if we ever needed to talk to him, and I appreciated that."
The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Strauser could project to linebacker or defensive end in college. He is rated three-stars and ranked as the No. 35 player in the state of Illinois.