WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Maxwell Football Club officially announced the 2021 Chuck Bednarik Award watch list Monday morning. Purdue junior defensive end George Karlaftis was among 11 Big Ten players to make the list.
The Chuck Bednarik Award is presented annually to the most outstanding defensive player in college football. Last year, Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins was honored with the award.
Karlaftis will enter his third season with the Boilermakers in 2021. He immediately contributed to the defense as a freshman, earning first-team Associated Press Freshman All-American honors.
In 2019, Karlaftis was third on the team with 54 total tackles, including 30 solo stops. He also registered a team-high 17 tackles for loss and tied the team lead with 7.5 sacks on the year. Karlaftis was proficient with his hands at the line of scrimmage as a freshman, recording two pass deflections and one interception while also adding one forced fumble.
After his breakout freshman campaign, Karlaftis was also named a second-team All-Big Ten selection.
Karlaftis only started three games in an already shortened 2020 season due to injury the COVID-19 pandemic. He led Purdue with two sacks and had four total tackles in his limited action on the field. Despite missing time, he was a second-team All-Big Ten selection as a sophomore.
Here is the full list of all Big Ten players selected to the Chuck Bednarik Award watch list:
- Jake Hansen, LB, Illinois
- Micah McFadden, LB, Indiana
- Tiawan Mullen, CB, Indiana
- Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
- Brandon Joseph, S, Northwestern
- Haskell Garrett, DT, Ohio State
- Zach Harrison, DE, Ohio State
- Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
- George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue
- Olakunle Fatukasi, LB, Rutgers
- Jack Sanborn, LB, Wisconsin
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