Since the age of nine, Blake Antzoulatos of West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade has chosen the gym over planting himself on the couch.
The 2019 linebacker is heavy into CrossFit, something he took up before his 10th birthday and he won’t hesitate to call himself a “gym rat” in front of his peers.
Now, he’s hoping those explosive workouts and his 125 tackles from this past season can turn the 6-foot-2, 208-pound middle linebacker/safety into Chaminade’s next highly-recruited defender.
“I train six days a week and three hours a day. I am what you would call a gym rat,” Antzoulatos told Scout. “I started in CrossFit with Marrs Fitness (in Simi Valley). Last year I competed in the Reebok CrossFit Open and finished third in the state and 83rd in the world. This offseason, I will be working strictly on speed and lifting. Size and speed is my main focus.”
On a Chaminade roster that already has national recruits Michael Wilson and Andrew Van Buren, Antzoulatos is building his resumé off of his workout regimen and his accolades against CIF Southern Section Division I and II competition. He took on the likes of Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure’s Chuck Wick, Valencia’s Moises Haynes and Mission Hills (Calif.) Alemany’s Cayden Dunn -- and all three 1,000-yard rushers either endured their worst loss of the season or their worst statistical performance when crossing paths with Antzoulatos.
He went on to earn Second-Team All-Mission League honors and was named Defensive Rookie of the Year at Chaminade after leading the Eagles in tackles for loss with 11.
He said his breakout sophomore season wouldn’t be made possible without teammate Kyle Bilchick in his corner, who served as Antzoulatos’ top defensive guidance counselor on the blue turf at Chaminade.
“Last year I was lucky enough to have a great senior captain and mentor in Kyle,” Antzoulatos said. “Having Kyle as a mentor really showed me what it takes to be a leader and the commitment it takes not only on the field, but in the classroom with film.”
Bilchick has since moved on to the University of San Diego, and is bequeathing his defensive role to Antzoulatos.
“This year, I am going to be moving in what we call ‘The Bull,’ which is the leader of the defense,” Antzoulatos said. “In addition, I currently play on all special teams. I have always played both ways as a linebacker/strong safety and wide receiver, but Chaminade is not short of offensive talent and I will do whatever helps my team reach its goal.”
Antzoulatos is not someone who wants to wrap up and wrestle a ball carrier to the ground; he prefers to run through them.
“I would say I have the mentality to not just tackle, but hit, and hit violently,” Antzloulatos said. “Most football players love touchdowns. I love to make tackles.”
While Wilson and Van Buren are stacking the offers, Antzoulatos’ recruiting has moved considerably slower. He’s yet to report his first scholarship offer. However, that doesn’t mean college coaches aren’t taking an interest in him.
“Right now, it’s just coaches following me on Twitter and meeting coaches via handshakes at practice,” he said. “Northwestern has shown interest and invited me to their spring practice. I did talk to the Stanford coaches as I attended their camp in June and felt I had strong showing, being that I was one of youngest players to attend.”
His current offseason plans include a return to Stanford and trips to Northwestern and Washington this June. He was also invited to the Nike Opening Los Angeles regional in March and the Under Armor All-American Combine.
Along with his high-intensity training, Antzoulatos comes with a 3.7 grade point average. His motivation not only comes from power lifting, running and punishing running backs, but also from his father Chris, who was a former hockey player in the United States Hockey League.
“He played at a very high level of hockey and with many current NHL players,” Antzoulatos said. “His advice has always been helpful. He always says if you want it, you have put in more hours than everyone else and most importantly, always be humble and have class on and off the field.”
Lastly, Antzoulatos is not apologizing to his opponents for out-working them through CrossFit or for his defensive play with Chaminade.
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“I think I always play with a chip on my shoulder and it seems to come out on the field,” he said. “I am not someone who just steps on the field and could catch, run and tackle. In fact, my first year of football I did a lot of watching from the bench. I have had to spend thousands of hours from the time I was 9-years-old to compete at this level, so I guess when you put in six days a week and three hours a day for the entire offseason for 10 games, without question I am going to empty the tank every single down from sideline to sideline.”