2021 LB Yanni Karlaftis on Recruiting Process, Top Schools, Wisconsin

Jake Kocorowski

Like many prospects in the class of 2021, the recruiting process for Yanni Karlaftis has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Admittedly, the West Lafayette, Ind., native -- rated a four-star talent by both 247Sports and Rivals -- said it was hard because he has had a timeline of committing right before the start of his senior season.

"I kind of have the same timeline in my head right now, but it kind of sets back the process," Karlaftis told AllBadgers.com on Wednesday. "I was going to take a lot of visits after my basketball season, but then right after my basketball season is when everything started happening, right? So it was just kind of hard because I've visited Wisconsin and I've visited Purdue but that's it. So it's kind of affected me just seeing other places and being more clear what I want to do."

At the moment, Karlaftis hears the most from a mix of four schools -- the two Big Ten programs in the Badgers and Boilermakers, as well as Oregon and California.

When asked if he has a top list of programs, he acknowledged those quartet of schools. He has mentioned those four previously in articles by 247Sports and Rivals last month.

There is obvious familiarity with Purdue, as not only does Karlaftis live in West Lafayette but his older brother, George, is a standout defensive end. In his first season as a Boilermaker, he registered 17.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks.

"Purdue's a good program," said Yanni Karlaftis. "They're kind of, I feel, like on the uprise, and he would love playing with me but he never really like pressures me or anything like that. He's not really that type of person. Because he was kind of like the same way, he didn't like anyone pressuring him. When people would pressure him and be like, 'Hey, you should go to Purdue,' he'd be kind of mad about it. 

"So he knows I don't want to be pressured by him or anything like that, but he just kind of tries and helps me to make the right decision."

Staying within the Big Ten West, Karlaftis believes his relationship with Wisconsin has developed pretty well. 

"I didn't always talk to them my first couple years in high school, but lately, our relationship has just been getting better and better,” Karlaftis said. “I haven't really visited many schools, but they're obviously one of the schools I have visited just because I really liked their program and their coaching staff."

In terms of communication with the UW staff, he talks to inside linebackers coach Bob Bostad the most. He has visited Wisconsin once, during last year's game against Michigan in September.

"I think they see me as an outside linebacker, but I don't think they have anything specific," Karlaftis said. "I think they just want me to come and play for them because I feel like I'm just a versatile player."

Though he has not visited Oregon or Cal, Karlaftis believes the programs are "really good" and have the ability to produce "really good linebackers." He also complimented the coaching staffs and the schools, and he also has taken one virtual visit to each.

For that matter, Karlaftis has not seen much of UW, as he only took in the action around and inside Camp Randall Stadium during his lone visit last fall. The No. 203 player and No. 14 outside linebacker in the country noted, however, that Bostad sends him videos of the campus, something he believes is helpful with the current uncertainty of when he will be able to get up to visit.

With that, no officials are set up at this point. Though he mentioned previously his ideal plan is to commit before the season, if that needs to change, it will change.

"If that time comes and I'm not sure about anything that I haven't seen anywhere, then I won't decide then," Karlaftis said. "But as of right now, as long as I can take like all of my officials and everything before then and stuff I'll probably still commit before the season, around that time."