For the most part Purdue’s defense was talented, but grossly out of position this past season. There were some bright spots thought. Derrick Barnes was a disruptive force all year long. George Karlaftis (when he was able to play) was pretty much completely dominant. Both players were named to the all-Big Ten defensive teams today. Karlaftis and barnes were both Second Team players according to the coaches, while the media had Karlaftis as honorable mention and Barnes on the Third Team. In terms of honorable mention the coaches had Lorenzo Neal, Jaylan Alexander, and Cam Allen, while the media had Karlaftis, Neal, Allen, and Brennan Thieneman.
Barnes was huge with 54 tackles and an interception across just six games. By comparison, he had only 63 tackles (with 7.5 sacks) in last year’s 12 game season.
The fact that Karlaftis made the Second team while only really playing in a game and a half shows how good he looked in that game and a half. He had just four tackles, but two sacks and was generally a disruptive force before he left the first half of the Illinois game with an ankle injury. He only returned for limited action against Minnesota, then missed the final two games with a positive COVID test.
With Karlaftis it was pretty simple: If he was in an at 100%, Purdue’s defense worked. When he was out or limited like against Minnesota, it didn’t. He is that good.