Dimitrios Makridis is relishing an unbeaten season.
By JOE SCALZO
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
COLUMBUS -- In the fall of 2002, Dimitrios Makridis was a talented middle linebacker on a Warren Harding team that made it to the Division I state championship game. At the same time, Makridis' teammate from the year before, Maurice Clarett, was leading Ohio State to the national title.
"As a little kid I always liked the Buckeyes and I knew by the time I hit high school, I was going to come here," Makridis said. "Then, when Maurice came, it made me want to come here even more, seeing how he did and the way that 2002 team was."
Although he was an all-county selection his senior year, Makridis wasn't quite good enough to earn a scholarship to OSU.
So he opted to walk on, figuring his talent as a long-snapper might be enough to get him some playing time. Now a redshirt junior, he's been in on two plays in his career and nearly forced a fumble on a punt two weeks ago against Michigan State.
"Some of the coaches and I think it was a turnover, but the refs didn't see it that way," he said, smiling. "As a snapper, the only time they see you is if you mess up. The best thing to do is be unknown your whole career here."
Makridis, who also got into a game last year against Northwestern, probably could have gone to a smaller school and played more, but he doesn't have any regrets about his choice.
"It's been great," he said. "It's not often you get to be on an undefeated team. The friendships are the big thing. Not even counting what the public sees, the way we are as a team, the way we joke around, it's awesome. It's like nothing I've ever experienced.
"We have great camaraderie and I love it. I've made friendships for a lifetime here."
Other area connections
Makridis is one of five area players on Ohio State's roster. The others are C Doug Datish (Howland), DB Shaun Lane (Hubbard), DB Zach Willis (Hubbard), K Andrew Good (Boardman and West Virginia University transfer) and DB Michael Dougherty (Boardman).
Makridis' younger brother, George, is a sophomore starting center for Harding, which earned a playoff berth after a 7-3 season. Although rumors are swirling that this is Thom McDaniels' last season with the Raiders, Makridis isn't so sure.
"I know him very well. Just knowing the person that he is, I don't know if he'll be able to leave after this year. He is almost the type of person who needs football in his life."
Although this is Makridis' fourth year at OSU, he still has another year of eligibility after this season. His major is operations management. When asked what he was going to do with it, he laughed.
"To be honest, I have no idea," he said. "I thought an undergrad business degree pretty much in anything would be OK. I'll work with it from there. Maybe I'll get my master's in business."
He's still got time to worry about it. Right now, his focus is on this football season, which has obviously gone pretty well for the Buckeyes.
"We take it one game at a time, like Coach [Jim Tressel] says," Makridis said. "We've got Illinois this week, then we're going back to Illinois the next week for Northwestern.
"Then we'll worry about Michigan."