Sept. 22, 2012
As a senior from Grosse Pointe High School, Mich., Reid Fragel was a much sought after recruit and had the option to study and play football almost anywhere in the country. When the time came to make a decision, Fragel chose to become a part of the high academic standard and timeless tradition of the Ohio State football program.
"Just seeing the campus and attending a football game I was kind of blown away. It was difficult for me to not want to attend this university" Fragel said.
The slimmer Fragel was a much different player when he first walked into the `Shoe. At six feet 7 inches, 260 pounds, Fragel had the physique of a large tight end. Nearly three seasons later Fragel has the build of six-foot-8-inch, 300-pound even larger right tackle.
Although it was not an easy position change, it is one that has helped the Buckeye offense during the young 2012 season.
"The biggest transition has been moving from more of an outside blocker as a tight end to the one-on-one responsibility of pass blocking as a right tackle. It requires a lot of new techniques and footwork."
In addition to learning the pass pro footwork it was necessary for Fragel to become stronger. Fragel recalled gaining about 30 pounds of muscle in the offseason with the help of coach Mickey Marotti, the Ohio State assistant athletic director for football sports performance, and Sarah Wick, the team nutritionist.
Fragel credited Wick for helping him establish a healthy diet that would allow him to increase in size. Included in his new and improved diet was additional protein to build muscle mass and more importantly significant amounts of carbohydrates to maintain his energy. Although Fragel was able to bulk up during the summer and work on learning new footwork, the four-year letter winner was not guaranteed the starting right tackle position.
Freshman Taylor Decker was the main competition for Fragel's starting spot. Decker, a six-foot-7-inch tall 313-pound, freshman offensive lineman who was Division II First Team All-State, battled Fragel for the starting role since spring drills and all through fall training camp. However Fragel's experience gave him an edge over a young but impressive Decker.
"He (Decker) is a young player who just needs some experience under his belt" Fragel said. "I think in the future he'll be a great player for Ohio State because he is a smart kid with nothing but upside."
Fragel's friendly rivalry with Decker was not his only competition during the offseason. Fragel and the Buckeyes participated in competition based drills or workouts. The entire team was split into seven or eight groups with the goal for each to amass the most points based on the completion and efficiency of the drill.
The reward at the end of each drill is the victory itself, which is obviously the goal each and every football Saturday.
"Our team motto is it's a work week Sunday through Thursday, Friday is our day off and Saturday is the pay day" Fragel said. "Coach Meyer's mentality is to practice harder than the game, so on game days we go out there and have fun and when we win we celebrate as a team."
If Ohio State continues to win the way it did against Miami University and UCF, Fragel and the rest of the Buckeyes will have much to celebrate and no doubt add to the timeless traditions of Ohio State football.
By: John W. Samuelson, Athletics Communications
Buckeyes in the NFL - Divisional Round