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Yanni Karlaftis stays home, signs with Purdue

Yanni Karlaftis will stay home and play for Purdue
Yanni Karlaftis will stay home and play for Purdue

There is likely no prospect in this 2021 class that Purdue recruited longer than West Lafayette (Ind.) High School linebacker Yanni Karlaftis. The Boilermakers’ persistence paid off when the four-star announced his intentions to sign with the hometown school on Wednesday.

“I picked Purdue and it was the right fit for me just because they are building a really good program right now and I feel real comfortable where I am,” Karlaftis said. “West Lafayette is a really good place, and especially this year I didn’t get a chance to get comfortable anywhere else without being able to visit anywhere. As it went along, it was the clear choice.”

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The younger brother of Purdue sophomore defensive end George Karlaftis, Yanni acknowledged that his brother’s success with the Boilermakers positively influenced his decision.

“It definitely helped it just because they put him in the right spots to be able to succeed,” Karlaftis said. “They gave him the reps, they really put him in position to be successful and I hope to be able to do something like that too.”

Purdue first extended an offer to Karlaftis in the spring of his sophomore year. He had narrowed it down to four schools by this past summer, which also included Cal, Oregon and Wisconsin.

Initially, Karlaftis planned to announce a decision before his senior season, but he postponed that plan when the NCAA extended the dead period. That dead period never did get lifted, and Purdue coaches had to recruit the hometown prosepct all the way until the end.

“They handled it really good,” Karlaftis said of the Purdue staff. “I had a really good relationship with all of them.

“It was up and down sometimes. I wanted to take my time and visit places, and it was hard that I couldn’t. Throughout that process they always kept good contact and were really good to me.”

Karlaftis will now join a defense that features, among others, his older brother, and he is working to be able to contribute to that defense early in his career.

“They want me to probably play some outside linebacker right now in coach (Bob) Diaco’s defense, but I am pretty open to playing anywhere,” Karlaftis said. “You never know how things may play out, and I am pretty comfortable playing inside or outside.

“I was real bummed out I couldn’t play my senior season. I thought over that off-season I did a lot of really good work, and I’ve just been continuing to do that and continuing to get ready.”

A hamstring injury kept Karlaftis from playing his senior season. He becomes the highest-ranked prospect and only four-star in Purdue’s 2021 class.