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