March 9, 2011
In the film room: Frank Epitropoulos
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One of the biggest reasons that Epitropoulos has started to blow up in recent weeks is that schools are taking notice of his versatility. He may very well be the best junior punter in Ohio and he's a top five in-state prospect at both wide receiver and free safety to boot. It is rare that a player can grade out so well at three different positions.
On Sunday afternoon, Frank Epitropoulos became the latest member of the 2012 class to receive a verbal offer from the Buckeyes. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound athlete from Upper Arlington High School in suburban Columbus is one of the most versatile prospects in Ohio.
In this edition of 'In the Film Room' we take a look at junior highlights of Epitropoulos , breakdown his strengths and weaknesses, and assess why schools like Ohio State, Purdue, West Virginia, and Wisconsin have already offered this talented prospect. The highlights above, as well as two live game evaluations this past fall form the basis of this breakdown.
What he does well:
Other than his obvious versatility, the first thing that stands out is the way he plays the ball when it's in the air. Epitropoulos has a unique ability to find an extra gear when the ball is in the air. Several times on the film reel the ball is thrown where Epitropoulos is either in front of, or even with his defender and while the ball is in flight he gets that extra burst and explodes past the defender to make the catch and a big play for his offense.
Epitropoulos is also ideally sized for both the safety and wide receiver positions. As a receiver, his height combined with his recorded 40-inch vertical is a serious match-up problem for opposing defensive backs. As a safety, he has the size and athleticism to cover a lot of ground while also being able to make plays in run support.
Above, we looked at how he plays the ball from his receiver spot but you see similar abilities as a safety. He does a good job of reading plays and always seems to be around the football and when the ball goes up, he has tremendous closing speed which allows him to really disrupt the passing game.
Finally, as a receiver, he has a great "take-off". He gets into his routes quickly and smoothly which is half of the battle. He still can work on a few things with his route running but we'll get to that below.
Where he can improve:
The number one thing that Epitropoulos can improve on is strength. Even at over 190-pounds, he's still thin and will need to put on some added weight and muscle before being able to play receiver or safety at the next level. He has a willingness to come up and make plays in run support but will need to add that extra strength to be more effective at it in college.
We talked about his route running above and he does a great job at the snap of the football of getting out into his route with an excellent burst. Where he can improve is in the shorter and intermediate routes where he tends to round things off a little bit too much and needs to make his cuts a bit more sharp. This is always a challenge for the taller receivers that are typically long-striders but continuing to work on his footwork and getting in and out of his breaks quickly and sharply will help him out a ton.
Not to beat a dead horse, but this 2012 Ohio crop is outstanding. The top 35-40 players in the state are good enough to play anywhere in the Country and Epitropoulos is certainly among that group of players. The offers just started pouring in very recently but there is no doubt that his versatility, size, and athleticism make him a high-ceiling prospect. The key for Epitropoulos will be figuring out just where he is going to play at the next level whether it's on offense or defense and whether or not he will punt in tandem with his other position.
Ultimately, I feel he best projects as a wide receiver but regardless, he's a high level BCS prospect at any of the three positions that he currently plays.
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