November 11, 1998
By Brian Remsberg
Purdue Athletic Public Relations Student Assistant
A self-proclaimed cartoon nut and history buff, Tim Stratton is also a pretty solid receiving tight end for the Purdue football team. The 6-foot-4, 235-pounder from Oak Brook, Ill., is having a very productive first season for the Boilermakers. The redshirt freshman has 29 catches on the season, which is tied for third best in the nation at his position. He also has racked up 272 yards and tallied five touchdowns, four of them coming in the last two games.
Last Saturday, in Purdues 56-21 win over Northwestern, Strattons second touchdown catch of the game was sophomore quarterback Drew Brees 28th touchdown pass of the season, getting him within one of tying the Big Ten Conference record (which he later broke). It was extra special for Stratton and Brees, as they are good buddies on and off the field. When asked about Strattons success this season Brees says jokingly, I feel sorry for Stratton, thats why I throw him the ball. Hes a guy who wants the ball all the time. He is a guy who is competitive and has some of the best hands on the team. He works so hard to get open and is usually matched up with a slower linebacker, and well take that any day.
Stratton gives credit to Brees and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney for his recent success. Coach Chaney calls the plays and Drew has just been hitting me, Stratton says. The opponents defense sometimes get confused, and I get wide open or I get put on a linebacker.
Stratton has been drawing some rave reviews lately at tight end has been compared with some of the other Purdue greats at the position. When asked about the attention he says that one of his goals is to be one of the best in history at Purdue. I need to gain some weight, and learn to block better, Stratton says. Then I will become a complete player.
When asked about helping Brees out with a possible Heisman run in the future Stratton says, It excites me, especially since he is a good friend of mine. Hes a great quarterback and I want to do anything I can to help him.
Stratton, a secondary education major, says he first became interested in history in high school. In particular, Stratton is interested in World War II and Civil War history. My history teacher was one of the football coaches, Stratton says. He was a really good coach and a good teacher. Among other hobbies Stratton says he is a big fan of cartoons and that X-Man and Superman are his favorites.
In his high school career Stratton played many positions, including wide receiver, punter, place kicker, defensive end and free safety. He was named conference and team Most Valuable Player as a junior and senior at Elmhurst York High School. Stratton also played basketball, averaging 19 points per game as a senior, and volleyball, setting eight of 12 school records.
Although Stratton didnt see any action last season for the Boilermakers he did dress for most of the games, including the Alamo Bowl. Going to a bowl game my first year was a great experience, it wasnt really something I expected right away, Stratton says. Now that Ive been to one I kind of expect to go to another one. I guess Im kind of spoiled.
The Boilermakers find themselves in another must-win situation this Saturday, as they travel to East Lansing, Mich., to take on Michigan State, which is fresh off an upset of No. 1-ranked Ohio State. Purdue, which stunned the Spartans last season by coming from 11 points down with 2:13 to play to win 22-21, needs to win one of its final two games to assure itself of a winning season and second straight bowl berth.
Its going to be tough to go up there and play, they are going to be emotionally charged, Stratton says. Its going to be loud, but I think we will be ready. We need to play a complete game, which we really havent done all year.
There will be no better time to go the distance than Saturday. Kickoff at Spartan Stadium is set for 12:10 p.m. EST, and the game will be televised regionally by ESPN+.