By: Logan Newman, USA TODAY High School Sports | October 29, 2018
It’s going to be a quick drive for George Karlaftis when he starts at Purdue.
The Boilermakers commit attends West Lafayette High School (Ind.), which, according to Google Maps, is 0.6 miles away from the university.
His house, he said, sits between his current and future schools.
But it’s not just the distance that’s close — Karlaftis has extensive family connections to Purdue.
His grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts. In his words, “everyone” has gone to the school.
Karlaftis emphasized that there’s a strong sense of community in Indiana, where homegrown players are admired. That’s no different for him, 247 Sports‘ No. 1 recruit in Indiana.
“We love the sense of a hometown hero, and I think that’s why every kid that’s from Indiana really tries to just help out his community,” he said.
But before making that two-minute drive from his house to his university, the defensive end will travel 1,200 miles — 1,200.7 from his high school, to be exact, according to Google Maps — to take part in the All-American Bowl at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
The four-star defensive end received his All-American Bowl jersey on Monday.
“It’s great, you know, it’s really just a dream come true,” he said. “It’s really fun to watch and I’m looking forward to playing in it this year.”
In addition to being the top Indiana recruit, Karlaftis is the No. 5 strong-side defensive end in the country, according to 247 Sports.
Through 11 games this season, the 6-foot-4, 260-pound senior has 86 tackles and an astounding 38 tackles for loss to go with nine sacks to help lead an 11-0 West Lafayette team.
Over his career, he has amassed 312 tackles, 66 tackles for loss and 32.5 sacks.
He’s already looking forward to helping Purdue. Only one year removed from a string of three straight last-place finishes in the Big Ten West, Purdue defeated previously unbeaten Ohio State on Oct. 20.
Karlaftis was there to watch.
“I think it’s the perfect time for me to go to Purdue,” he said. “We’re going to take off and it’s going to be crazy. We’re going to shock the world. . . . I think I can help.”
The All-American Bowl is scheduled for Jan. 5 in the Alamodome in San Antonio and will be televised live on NBC at 1 p.m. EST.