WEST LAFAYETTE – The Purdue football team is on the road this weekend, but that didn’t keep coach Jeff Brohm from picking up a big win back in Indiana.

George Karlaftis III, a 2019 defensive end from West Lafayette High School, committed to the Boilermakers on Friday night. Karlaftis took off his pads following the Red Devils’ 79-7 playoff victory over Benton Central to reveal a Purdue shirt with the catch phrase “Let’s Play Football.”

The move was significant for Purdue on a number of levels. It keeps a local prospect in state. It represents the most highly touted recruit landed by the new regime. And it jump starts a new recruiting class.

The 6-foot-4, 260-pound high school junior is rated as a four-star prospect by Rivals, 247 Sports, Scout and ESPN. He chose Purdue ahead of a number of major Power Five offers, including Alabama, Louisville, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and Indiana.

Brohm and his staff have made Karlaftis a priority since arriving in West Lafayette. Brohm and defensive coordinator Nick Holt have attended several of Karlatis' football games this season. Two weeks ago, the Boilermakers played a major recruiting card when legendary Purdue quarterback Drew Brees met with the West Lafayette defensive end.

When Brohm signed his first class in February, he made a point to say he wanted to reestablish connections within Indiana to keep local players at home. Karlaftis is a step toward that goal. He’ll play his college football less than a mile from his high school.

Karlaftis grew up in Athens, Greece and only started playing football in eighth grade. Even though he is relatively new to football, Karlaftis comes from an athletic bloodline.

His father, Matthew, walked on to the Miami football team. After Matthew died from a heart attack in 2014, George's mother, Amy, moved her family back to her hometown. 

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