Epitropoulos A Two-way Standout

Ohio State did not have to look far for its sixth verbal commitment for the class of 2012. Frank Epitropoulos, who preps at nearby Upper Arlington, will bring the ability to contribute at a few positions when he arrives on campus next year according to head coach Mike Golden.

Although he will play wide receiver at Ohio State next season, Frank Epitropoulos finds himself a more valued member of his team on the other side of the ball. A three-star wideout prospect from Upper Arlington, Ohio, Epitropoulos also lines up at free safety for the Golden Bears.

When he needs a break, he comes off the field on offense – and with good reason, according to head coach Mike Golden.

"He's a real key to our defense," the coach told BuckeyeSports.com. "A kid like that, there's going to be plays on offense where he doesn't need to be in there. That's where he gets his rest once in a while is on offense."

As a junior, Epitropoulos caught 29 passes for around 500 yards and five touchdowns. The Buckeyes view him as a wideout, but other schools that were recruiting him had other ideas.

"West Virginia was looking at him at safety and then Wisconsin was offense and Stanford looked at him as a free safety," Golden said. "It really varied.

"I don't think he really has a preference. I think he enjoys all the things that he does. Any kid probably likes receiving the best but he's an outstanding free safety. I think he was very accepting of whatever anybody wanted him to do. I think he enjoys the game."

When Epitropoulos began playing varsity as a sophomore, he primarily lined up at wide receiver but also saw some snaps on defense. He became a two-way player as a junior because he established himself as the top option at both spots, Golden said.

The Buckeyes began recruiting Epitropoulos during the winter, Golden said. A scholarship offer arrived in early March and the 6-3, 195-pound senior-to-be issued a verbal commitment to the program April 26, three days after he attended the OSU spring game.

Asked how the coaches try to use Epitropoulos on offense, Golden said, "Any way we can. We throw him the ball, sometimes we try to run short screens if we're struggling to get the ball to him downfield but we're mostly a vertical team in terms of passing so it's mostly downfield. We'll run some reverses and little things like that once in a while to try and get him the ball. We have other good players too."

For good measure, Epitropoulos also earned second-team all-state honors last season as a punter. Golden said he could contribute there as a Buckeye as well and added that he had discussed the possibility with OSU's coaching staff.

"He'll probably have to break into the top group of receivers and I think that's what they're hoping he will do, but he's so versatile as a recruit," the coach said. "There's a lot of money they're investing in a kid so a kid that can also punt at his level (is a bonus). He's an extraordinarily good kicker. I know they'll take that very seriously as well."

Scout.com rates him the No. 24 overall prospect from Ohio and the nation's No. 53 wide receiver. He was the sixth player to verbally commit to OSU's class of 2012.

Following his junior season, Epitropoulos was voted a team captain by his teammates. Although he is currently going through track season, the future Buckeye has continued to lift for football while fulfilling his leadership requirements, his coach said.

Golden said Epitropoulos' blend of size and speed have made him an attractive recruit for recruiters. The coach said Epitropoulos has been timed at 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash while running on the school's track and added that he has a vertical jump of 40½ inches.

"I think people are always wowed by his athleticism," the coach said. "Those are really, really special marks. He's the real deal."

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