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Bell, Karlaftis leaving Purdue early to enter NFL Draft

The Boilermakers junior standouts, who both hail from central Indiana, are going pro.
Credit: AP
Purdue wide receiver David Bell (3) makes a catch for a touchdown against Michigan State during the first half of an NCAA college football game in West Lafayette, Ind., Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Warren Central High School grad David Bell is leaving Purdue for the pros.

The Boilermakers star wide receiver announced his decision to enter the NFL Draft in a video posted to social media Wednesday afternoon.

"I am blessed beyond measure to do the thing I love everyday, and now at the professional level. Thank you Purdue for being home, thank you to my incomparable support system & thank you God. Boiler up forever!" Bell wrote in a tweet.

Bell was named this week as the winner of the Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year award in the Big Ten and has already been named to several All-America teams for the 2021 season. He caught 93 passes for 1,286 yards and six touchdowns this season, leaving him just 21 yards short of Purdue's single-season receiving record. 

Twice this season, at Iowa and in an upset win over Michigan State in West Lafayette, Bell went over the 200-yard mark in receiving yards. 

A finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, given each year to the nation's top receiver, Bell has caught 232 passes for 2,946 yards and 21 touchdowns in his Purdue career.

Credit: AP
FILE - Purdue defensive end George Karlaftis (5) plays against Wisconsin during the first half of an NCAA college football game in West Lafayette, Ind., Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021. Karlafris was selected to The Associated Press All-Big Ten team in results released Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

Another Boilermaker star, defensive end George Karlaftis, announced earlier this week that he, too, would be entering the NFL Draft. 

Karlaftis, who attended West Lafayette High School, was recently named a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award as the nation's top defensive end. He also earned first team All-Big Ten honors and has been named to several All-America teams.

The junior has recorded 99 tackles and 12 1/2 sacks in three seasons with the Boilermakers. Karlaftis also has an interception and two fumble recoveries at Purdue, both coming during his freshman season in 2019. 

The latest 2022 NFL mock draft from NBC Sports has Karlaftis slotted to be picked tenth overall by the Minnesota Vikings. Bell is projected as a second-round selection by the Chicago Bears with the 37th overall pick. 

It is not clear if Bell or Karlaftis would play in Purdue's bowl game. The Boilermakers will face the Tennessee Volunteers in the Music City Bowl in Nashville at 3 p.m. EST on Dec. 30.

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