Final countdown: Impact player No. 8

August, 24, 2012
8/24/12
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Training camp is over and game preparations have begun. The torture of the offseason is nearly over, and Ohio State's first game under Urban Meyer is closing in. Leading up to the opener against Miami (Ohio), BuckeyeNation will count down the 10 players that figure to have the biggest impact on Meyer's first campaign, continuing with an offensive lineman whose identity hasn't actually been determined yet.

No. 8

REID FRAGEL or TAYLOR DECKER
  • POSITION: Right tackle
  • BASICS: The Buckeyes haven't settled on a starter yet, but their choices are a converted tight end who has bulked up to more than 300 pounds or a freshman who arrived on campus carrying 310 pounds on a 6-foot-7 frame.
  • BY THE NUMBERS: Fragel hasn't played a game yet as an offensive lineman, but he has plenty of game experience heading into his senior season after appearing in 39 games at tight end. He finished his run at the position with 14 career receptions, though he was always valued more as a blocker -- one indication he might be able to make the transition to tackle.
  • OPPORTUNITY FOR IMPACT: Each option comes with a built-in negative that has seemingly kept coach Urban Meyer from picking a guy and completing the starting lineup. Fragel is a converted tight end and isn't quite as familiar with the position. Decker is a true freshman at a position that often benefits from additional time in the weight room before being thrown into action. But both of them appear capable of handing the responsibility of protecting Braxton Miller on one edge of the line or the competition wouldn't feature them at this point. Whether it's ultimately Fragel or Decker, the last piece of the puzzle on the offensive line could help make the offense or contribute to some breakdowns, giving them a chance to strongly influence the season one way or the other.
  • HE SAID IT: "It’s not negative by any means; we don’t avoid each other or anything like that. It’s not like two gunslingers walking past each other. Definitely trying to help him out. Him being a freshman, there are obviously things he’s got to learn and I can help him with it after being here a while. I’ll give him pointers here and there, but at the end of the day, if coach wants to call it a battle, I’m going to do everything I can to beat him out." -- Fragel on the competition in training camp

Austin Ward | email

Ohio State/Big Ten reporter

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