Fragel Ready To Tackle New Challenge

When Reid Fragel showed up at Ohio State, analysts wondered if he'd be a better offensive tackle than a tight end. Three years later, he's ready to make the move from the latter position to the former. Fragel said after the team's Gator Bowl loss that moving spots was his idea and is a new challenge he's willing to accept.

Reid Fragel woke up Jan. 2 at peace with his situation.

That afternoon, Fragel would go out and play for the Ohio State football team in its Gator Bowl contest against Florida. That was basically routine, as it would be the 39th straight game for the Buckeye junior tight end.

What was different was that it would be the last one Fragel would play at that position, and Fragel knew it.

As a result, the Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich., native went to his Twitter account that morning, posting this message at 8:23 a.m.: "Stoked for this game, most likely my last at tight end as well. Going out with a bang."

He didn't quite make an impact through the air – unlike last year's postseason contest, the Sugar Bowl, in which he had a career-long 42-yard catch – but turned in his usual excellent blocking performance on the edge.

And that, in a nutshell, is why Fragel is on the move. After talking with incoming head coach Urban Meyer, Fragel has decided to move from the tight end spot to offensive tackle.

"I just talked to Urban about it," he said. "I mentioned it to him and he's all for it. If he's on board for it, I am too."

When asked if the decision was his, Fragel answered in the affirmative. He came up with the idea after noticing the Buckeyes are losing starting tackles Mike Adams and J.B. Shugarts to graduation after the campaign, while OSU will return pass-catching threat Jacob Stoneburner and high-potential youngsters Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett.

"I wanted to make the change," he said. "I just feel like our team needs some help at tackle. We don't have that much depth. Looking at our tight ends, we have Jeff and Nick and Stoney coming back. I think we'll be strong at tight end, and I feel like my blocking will help us at tackle."

It's also fair to say Fragel has the body for the switch. Ohio State lists him at 6-8, 280 pounds, so a move to tackle would require the addition of only about 20 pounds; Fragel said his goal is to get to about 295 or 300.

"I'll put on some weight and I'll be all set to go," he said.

Moving to tackle, in fact, has always seemed like a possible destination for the southeast Michigan native. Fragel broke his thumb his senior year at Grosse Pointe South High School, an injury that necessitated a move to tackle as he healed. Later, analysts at the Offense-Defense Bowl, a national prep all-star game, noted he had the edge blocking abilities to handle a move to the position.

But the Buckeyes were happy to have him at tight end, a position that hasn't been the deepest because of numbers issues and injuries to Stoneburner until now. So after making 14 career catches for 185 yards and a touchdown in 2010 at Iowa, Fragel is ready to make the move.

"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "I'm not upset about it or anything."

To get prepare, Fragel said he's looking at some tight ends who have successfully made the transition, including Nate Solder.

Solder arrived at Colorado as tight end before switching to tackle during his sophomore season. As a senior, he was one of the top offensive linemen in the country, finishing among the top three in Outland Trophy voting, before becoming a first-round draft pick of the New England Patriots.

"Yeah, I've watched Solder a little bit," he said. "I guess I should say I idolize him a little bit, you could say. I look up to him and I can't help but think I could do something like that."

Time will tell whether Fragel will have similar success in the future, but that's not his concern at the moment. All he cares about is helping the Buckeyes have success during his senior season.

"It's just something that needs to happen, and I'm looking forward to it," Fragel said.

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