Ex-Buckeyes Preparing For Shot At The Pros
Simon Fraser prepares for the NFL combine
Simon Fraser prepares for the NFL combine
Bucknuts Managing Editor
Posted Feb 17, 2005


For many Ohio State football players, the wintertime after their final season is one of the most important times of their lives. It's during this time that the players prepare for their chance to impress pro scouts, and the workouts are intense as players like Simon Fraser, Branden Joe, and Lydell Ross try to get in top shape for combines. Today, we take a quick look at the preparations and get some thoughts from Fraser as he works towards next week's NFL combine.

Former Ohio State defensive end Simon Fraser is among a handful of former Buckeyes who are training for this spring's National Football League draft at the MAX Sports Center in Dublin.

"All of us training here have the same goal," Fraser said. "It helps to have guys here that you have competed with and they keep you motivated to work out. We are preparing for the biggest job interview of our lives."

Ex-Buckeye receiver John Hollins in the middle of a workout

The stakes are high for Fraser and the other former players who are in high intensity final preparation before they go to Indianapolis next week for the NFL scouting combine. OSU will hold its own pro workout day at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center in March.

OSU players used to spend the months after their final bowl appearance working out with team strength and conditioning coaches at the WHAC. But it seems that most draft hopefuls now go out on their own. They like the flexibility of establishing their own program and lifting and training on their own schedule.

"I really like coming up here," Fraser said. "We do things on our own individual time and we can focus in on what we need to get done. I have known (MAX Sports strength coach Will) Connery since high school. He was my coach as well at Upper Arlington.

"Coach (Mike) Cochran at Ohio State is a fantastic guy, but I know they are trying to get their players ready for next season. It would be hard to get all of us in there as well as their players."

Former OSU assistant coach (and Bucknuts.com contributor) Bill Conley is the vice president of MAX Sports. He is only too glad to have some of his former players working out at his facility.

"Within the next month, those kids will be testing in Indianapolis or at their home college," Conley said. "We've got guys like Dustin Fox, Simon Fraser, Branden Joe, Bam Childress, John Hollins, Roshawn Parker, Harlen Jacobs and Thomas Matthews.

"We also have Ukee Dozier from Minnesota, Jonathan Goddard from Marshall and Matt Pusateri from Miami (Ohio). We've got 13 or 14 kids who are training at MAX Sports Center.

"We are very excited. Originally, we thought if we had two or three kids it would be tremendous. We have some great trainers there. We have Will Connery, who is great in the strength and performance area. We have (former OSU player) Gary Berry, who is without a doubt one of the best in the speed and agility training coaches in the country. We feel we have put together a program that is second to none already in our first year.

Fullback Branden Joe is expected to get serious looks from the NFL

"We think about half of those kids will get drafted and hopefully the rest of them will have a chance to sign and make an NFL training camp."

Fraser said it is nervous time as he awaits his appearance at the combine.

"Basically, you only have a limited time to get physically prepared," Fraser said. "You go from the end of your senior season right to getting ready for the combine. Every day, it counts down and it seems like the days are getting shorter. With it coming up, you just hope you'll be ready to go and show what you can do."

Fraser said he intends to work out at the combine as well as at the OSU pro day.

"I have been trying to keep myself in good shape," he said. "But I know when I get over there, I'll be poked and prodded and assessed just like everybody else."

Unlike last year - when OSU had a record 14 players taken in the seven-round NFL draft - the Buckeyes may only have three to five draftees this year.

Kicker Mike Nugent may be OSU's best draft hopeful. As the top kicker available (according to Scout.com), Nugent could go anywhere from the late first round through possibly the third round.

Fraser, Fox, Joe and Ross all have a shot. Joe is ranked as the 14th-best fullback available by Scout.com. The others were not considered among the top 20 at their respective positions. Of course, those rankings are certain to change after the combine as well as individual workouts at each school.



Roshown Parker takes a crack at the same machine Hollins is pictured working on above


Branden Joe talks with ex-Buckeye Gary Berry



Related Stories
Prospect Profile: Simon Fraser
 -by ScoutNFLNetwork.com  Mar 27, 2005
Prospect Profile: Branden Joe
 -by ScoutNFLNetwork.com  Apr 3, 2005
OSU Notebook: Buckeyes Play Through Controversy
 -by BuckeyeSports.com  Jan 3, 2005

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