When he moved to Idaho two years ago, George Tarlas came as a basketball player.
The member of Greece’s U-16 national team soon realized the high school season is only four months long in the United States, so he joined the Caldwell High football team to stay in shape.
Tarlas always envisioned playing basketball at the next level. But after a year as a defensive end at Caldwell and a year as a linebacker at Borah, he will sign a letter of intent with the Weber State football program Wednesday.
“People believed in me, and I didn’t even know if I was good enough,” Tarlas said. “If somebody believes in you, that means you can do something more. You actually can do it.”
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The past two falls have served as a crash course for Tarlas (6-foot-4, 230 pounds), whom the Weber State coaches have dubbed the “Greek Freak.” Borah coach Jason Burton said the Lions had to undergo a lot of remedial teaching with Tarlas, but once they turned him loose on the field, he made play after play.
“We literally had to break it down. This is what this position is called. This is what we’re reading. This is the center, the guard, the tackle,’’ Burton said.
He just played football for fun. This is his only second year playing football.”
Burton said Tarlas put it all together during the fifth week of the season, when he flattened a Centennial player. He terrorized opponents the rest of the season, earning second-team 5A All-Idaho honors with 54 tackles and six sacks.
“I remember him coming up to me saying, ‘When I hit with my shoulder, I don’t feel anything and they go flying,’” Burton said. “He was trying to hug people when he tackled them. I don’t know what happened, but it finally clicked.”
Tarlas, who knows he’s a raw prospect for a college program, said Boise State offered him a preferred walk-on spot, and Idaho, Portland State and Montana State showed late interest. But he said he couldn’t turn down the only full-ride scholarship he received from Weber State, which reached the FCS playoffs last season.
Tarlas said Weber State coaches recruited him as a hybrid defensive end/linebacker, allowing him to do what he does best — rush the quarterback. He admits a redshirt season would benefit his education in the sport, but after the past two years, the football convert isn’t ruling anything out.
“Definitely having the specialized college coaching, he will see an unbelievable in-depth view of the game,” Burton said. “I’m excited. I really am. Going to Weber State, he will get on the field quicker, which will be very exciting for him to get that live action. Looking forward, I would not be shocked if by his sophomore year, he’s starting as a redshirt sophomore.”
Known Treasure Valley Division I commits
Note: Former Rocky Mountain running back Jake Roper (2016) has transferred from Boise State to Montana State on a full-ride scholarship.
* - Ojukwu signed and enrolled early with Boise State.