June 6, 2008

Fragel sets the record straight

Of all the positions on the football field it has been the tight end at Ohio State that might be the most forgotten man on the field. Going through the history books there have been big names that have come in at the position but it has been names like Eddie George, Terry Glenn, Joey Galloway and Troy Smith that have gotten the offensive praise.

For current Buckeye commitment Reid Fragel he knows that he is not going to come into Columbus and set the position on its ear but just wants to make an impact in any way that the team needs him.

"I understand from watching film of the former tight ends that it is more that they like to have a bigger blocking tight end and occasionally catch the ball, but that is not really the importance," Fragel said. "To me it wasn't a big issue knowing that because that is me really and my offense here so it should be an easy transition for me."

The role of the tight end has not been a hugely prolific one in the past offenses at Ohio State and with the Terrelle Pryor[db] era possibly being close is there a fear before even coming in that the role could be diminished more with a change in offensive philosophy?

"I have talked to coach (Jim) Tressel actually about when (Terrelle) Pryor, if the offense is going to change to more of a spread?" Fragel said. "But I guess that Pryor is trying to learn more of a pro-style offense for the NFL."

With all of that being said Fragel knew early on in the process that he wanted to be part of what was going on in Columbus and it only took a first visit to set the wheels in motion for the 6-foot-8, 255-pounder.

"Really my first visit down there was that first impact that Ohio State had on me and I fell in love with the place right away," Fragel said. "Just the tradition it has and the ability the program has to win. I feel like I fit in there the best at my position as well."

The Grosse Pointe (Mich.) standout has quickly developed a relationship with the Ohio State staff including his future position coach [db]John Peterson. But it wasn't just a matter of bonding only with Peterson or Tressel that made Fragel feel like he had found a new home.

"(The coaches and I) are already really close and I get in contact with coach (John) Peterson a lot and I have been getting to know the staff really well and the past two times that I have been down there all of the coaches have been extremely nice to me and I really like them a lot," Fragel said.

Fragel was one of several handful of players who made the trip to the Ohio State spring game and for the recruits in attendance there wasn't much of a chance to talk with the current players who were getting ready for their final exhibition of the spring football season but Fragel did have a chance to talk briefly with current tight end Jake Ballard. What were Fragel's impressions from talking to the junior tight end?

"I kind of felt like I was looking at a mirror a little bit." Fragel joked.

Fragel now has an opportunity to talk with several members of the current recruiting class and turn his attention from being recruited to being a recruiter. He admitted that it was enjoyable trying to get some more standout players to join him in Columbus.

One player from that state up north that will be joining Fragel in Columbus will be Grand Ledge (Mich.) wide receiver James Jackson. The four-star speedster committed to the Bucks approximately two weeks before Reid but the two have not had a chance to talk much living nearly two hours apart from each other.

"We have talked briefly though the internet and we are basically both excited to be part of this great team and looking forward to the future," Fragel said.

While the Buckeyes strike less often in Michigan than the Wolverines do in Ohio there has been a bit of an increase of Michiganders who have headed south with four making the trip south in the last four recruiting classes. Reid offered a simple explanation as to why he thought Ohio State was having more success up north.

"I think it is kind of hard to look past winning," Fragel said. "I think there are guys out there that are looking at the more realistic aspect of where they can make the most impact and can win and get the best education. That is the way that I looked at it too and I want to try and get out there and explore things as well, which is an added bonus that Ohio State has to offer."

Fragel had become a bit of an internet sensation as video of some of his offseason workouts started making their way around cyberspace. Reid showed off his strength throwing around tractor tires and running with more weight that most people would want to attempt. What did Reid think about the notoriety that he was gaining from those films?

"I think it is just kind of the tip of the iceberg for what is to come in the future," Fragel admitted. "I feel like I am going to develop the most in college and I am just starting to kind of hit my stride I think and I think a lot of the (offensive) tackle talk I will use as motivation to just get bigger and faster at the same time rather than just bigger. These kind of workouts I have been doing have definitely been helping with my speed and I definitely have gotten faster and more agile."

There has been a lot of talk by people outside of the program that it will just be a matter of time before the projected tight end will end up moving to the offensive line and become a tackle. What does Reid think about people already projecting a move more than a year before he sets foot on the Ohio State campus?

"I feel that people really don't know me well enough to put me at a certain position," Fragel said. "I think Ohio State has seen my abilities and my speed and they know that I can play tight end and I feel that with getting faster and continuing to maintain my speed or getting faster while putting on weight I feel that I can definitely play tight end."

The Ohio State coaches have not had any discussions about a move to tight end according to Reid and it seems as if there aren't really any parameters that could be put around a big tight end.

"Coach Peterson and I talked about it before and I don't think there is a real size limit that you can put on a tight end as long as they can move," Fragel said.

I think it is kind of hard to look past winning.

- Reid Fragel
on why OSU is recruiting so well in Michigan

So now with a year separating Reid from his college destination what is next for the future Buckeyes? Fragel believes that he has done plenty of work when it comes to his strength (as evidenced by the aforementioned workout videos) but what else does he need to work on in the next 12 months and conversely what is the strength of his game?

"I think now I am just trying to focus more on speed lately and I think my blocking is my biggest strength so I have just started working on my weaknesses now," Fragel said.

Fragel checked in at 255 pounds at the East Lansing (Mich.) five-star academy in March of 2008. Reid would like to play his senior season around 260 pounds and then once he gets to college he could see himself playing closer to the 265-270 pound mark.

"I have joked around with the (high school) trainer that I want to put on a lot weight while still maintaining a six pack," Fragel joked.

For such a big player there have been big stories and legends that have preceded him like a tale of him chasing down a mugger while in Columbus and making sure that the mugger would not be messing with anyone any time soon. Is there any truth to that or is it just another urban legend?

"It did occur but there are some different spins on the story that I have heard and I didn't really chase anyone down and it was more of defending my dad," Fragel explained. "It really has kind of gotten out of hand and I am just glad that my dad is alright. He wasn't mugged or anything it was just really kind of some whacko starting things."

Obviously that event did not change the way that Fragel felt about Ohio State with a commitment to play in Columbus starting in 2009. It is almost a cliché to call it love at first sight but for Fragel he knew almost instantaneously that he knew what the future held for him.

"When I saw Ohio State I was very positive that was the place I wanted to play at," Fragel said. "I just wanted to take the time out and really think about things and be as positive as I could be."

And now while people talk about a move to offensive tackle, workout videos online and a thwarted mugging Fragel will just concentrate on his dream to play at the next level.

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