I'm naturally a person who thinks about the worst-case scenario...probably too often. I work with kids in my church youth group, and can be a bit of a buzz kill- I'll remind them to not get themselves in dangerous situations because bad things do happen...and they often seem to happen prior to a kid's Senior year in college or high school as there is so much going on in their lives. That's the case for Purdue's Sean Matti, as his body was found following drowning this past holiday weekend.
Matti was a walk-on running back who probably wasn't going to see the field (at least at RB) this fall. But, if you went to the spring game, you got to see Matti show what he could do coming out of the backfield. Being a tightly-packed diminutive caucasian and sporting a number in the 20s, it was pretty easy to compare Matti to Dan Dierking, who just left the program. Like Dierking, Matti ran the ball hard...and wasn't the fastest guy, but hit the hole pretty quickly. Purdue's running back situation is thin coming into this fall with the departure of ATM, and a ton of new guys on the two & three deeps.
I'm not going to claim to have been a big Matti fan...in fact, I didn't know the guy was on the roster prior to the spring. But at least for one afternoon, I got to appreciate what he could do with the ball in his hands...and more importantly, got to know another Purdue student who decided to play football- not for scholarship money, but because he just loved playing.
The details behind Matti's death two days ago haven't been publicly released...and they really don't matter at this point. But, I'm saddened for his family, his friends and his teammates. I'm positive that the loss of a guy who's been in the locker room for three seasons will be felt, regardless if he's a starter or a guy who just gave his sweat and blood on the practice field.
Matti was 22 and joined Purdue's football team in '07. My thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family.