Karras Brings Toughness To Illini O-Line

The Fighting Illini football team continues to add offensive linemen as Indianapolis Cathedral's Ted Karras committed recently. Karras comes from a football family and is continuing their tradition of outstanding football players. He makes the fourth offensive lineman to decide on the Illini this recruiting season.

Ted Karras has a familiar last name.

"I'm the seventh member of my family to play in the Big 10. And this will be our fifth Big 10 school."

His father played in the NFL, and so did two great uncles.

"My dad played one year in the pros, but the generation before him played a little bit more, Alex Karras and those guys."

Great uncle Alex was not only a star defensive tackle in the NFL, he was also a famous Hollywood actor. Karras is proud of his heritage and wants to continue the legacy.

"Absolutely. It definitely gives me something to work toward."

When the younger Ted Karras knows what he wants, he makes quick decisions.

"I visited last Friday. I'm not a high maintenance guy. When I made my decision, I called them up and told them I wanted to make it."

Ron Zook and assistants Vic Koenning and Joe Gilbert all made a great impression on him during the recruiting process.

"Coach Zook, Coach Koenning and Coach Gilbert, they fit my style. My dad's a coach, and I grew up with a bunch of his staff. I've always looked for the staff that made me feel at home like my dad's staff. And they do."

Gilbert will also be his offensive line coach at Illinois. Karras looks forward to the opportunity.

"I love him. He's the kind of offensive line coach I want to play for. He's tough, he doesn't put up with much. Offensively, he knows where to put guys to match their strengths."

When describing his attributes as a lineman, the future Communications major sounds like the kind of player all coaches wish to recruit.

"I play really, really mean and tenacious. I've been told I play fairly well in space. I just like to overpower people. I'll be a guard at the next level instead of tackle like in high school."

Karras, who says he is 6'-4", 290, chose the Illini over three other finalists.

"The other schools I considered were UCLA, Iowa State, and Indiana. Those were my top four."

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