July 2, 2013

The Replacements: Reid Fragel

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The start of fall camp is nearly a month away, but the Ohio State football team is already focused on putting together its second consecutive undefeated season. To do that, however, the Buckeyes will be forced to replace some key contributors to their 2012 squad that accumulated a perfect 12-0 record.



In the coming weeks, we'll take a look at the voids that OSU will try to fill, and the candidates who will attempt to do so. Today, we begin with the Buckeyes' right tackle position.



What they're replacing

With the departure of Reid Fragel, who was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the seventh round of April's NFL Draft, the Buckeyes are faced with the task of replacing their starting right tackle for all 12 of their games a season ago. A tight end for the first three years of his college career, Fragel morphed into an All-Big Ten honorable mention last season, helping pave the way for the nation's 10th-ranked rushing offense.



The void left by Fragel is just one of two that exists on the Buckeyes' offense heading into 2013. Ohio State will return four starters on its offensive line this season -- all seniors -- and are hoping that Fragel's successor will gel quickly enough with the unit that it can pick up right where it left off last November.



The frontrunner


Right tackle may have been the Buckeyes' most closely contested position battle this past spring, but it was sophomore Taylor Decker who will enter fall camp as the position's presumed starter. That's not to say that he won't have to continue to earn the right to replace Fragel, but for now he appears to be the surest bet when it comes to who will lineup with Ohio State's first-team offense on Aug. 31.



That's not all that surprising, when you consider that a year ago, it was Decker who was pushing Fragel for the right to start on opening day. Ultimately, the former four-star prospect's inexperience proved to be too much for him to overcome, and Decker spent 2012 as the Buckeyes' de-facto sixth offensive lineman.



The X-factor


While a year ago Decker was battling with Fragel, this offseason, he finds himself fighting with Chase Farris for the starting right tackle spot. A converted defensive lineman, Farris drew rave reviews from OSU head coach Urban Meyer last season for his work in practice with the Buckeyes' second-team offensive line unit.



While he's currently a step behind Decker, Farris still has all of fall camp to make his case for being the Buckeyes' starting right tackle. The redshirt sophomore still has three years of eligibility remaining, and could play a factor in Ohio State's long-term offensive line plans.



Other candidates:
Kyle Dodson, Antonio Underwood, Evan Lisle, Andrew Norwell, Marcus Hall.







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