Like almost every kid in the Buckeye State, Jaimie Frasure bled scarlet and gray growing up as he followed the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Now, the 2005 Lakeside High School graduate will be out to make the Buckeyes bleed — figuratively, of course — when he and his Youngstown State University teammates journey to Ohio Stadium on Saturday to challenge the Buckeyes (noon kickoff, Big Ten Network, ESPN 970 WFUN) in the season opener.
Frasure, a star during his high school days for coach Jay Corlew’s Dragons, will see action at defensive end for the Penguins. He’s also a member of YSU’s kickoff return unit.
“I’m No. 2 on the depth chart at defensive end,” Frasure, who will wear No. 57 on his white YSU road jersey on Saturday, said. “We rotate reps every four plays, so I know I will be getting a lot of time.
“You have to do that to keep guys fresh and I know it’s something I’m very much looking forward to.”
The 6-foot, 230-pound Frasure, now a junior, played fullback as a sophomore, carrying the football three times for 3 yards. How did the transition to the other side of the football come about?
“We went to a spread offense over the summer,” Frasure said. “And they brought me in and said since the fullback isn’t really involved in the offense much in the spread, they wanted to move me to defense.”
Makes sense, but how did Frasure end up as a defensive end? In high school, he earned All-Ohio honors as a linebacker at Lakeside.
“I really wanted to play linebacker... that’s all I’ve ever played,” he said. “But then we got in the weight room and I was putting up some pretty good numbers.
“Coach (Antoine) Smith saw what I was doing and said to me, ‘I’ve got to get you on the line!’ So that’s where I’m at.”
After the initial reservations about the move, Frasure said he’s adjusted just fine.
“I’m very, very comfortable on the end now,” he said. “The coaches knew what they were doing because I couldn’t be happier.”
Frasure said he and the rest of coach Jon Heacock’s Penguins know exactly what’s in store for them in challenging Jim Tressel’s Buckeyes, ranked No. 2 in the country.
“They are huge, fast and strong,” Frasure said. “They’re ranked where they are for a reason and we know it will be a great challenge, but we’re excited about the opportunity.”
Frasure knows he won’t be able to run over any of Ohio State’s offensive linemen.
“They’re all at least 6-2 and weight at least 310,” he said. “So I’m going to have to use my quickness and beat them off the ball if I’m going to be effective.”
Playing in Ohio Stadium in front of 105,000 plus has the son of Cliff and Chris Frasure excited. He didn’t make the trip to Columbus with the team a year ago.
“I can’t wait, actually,” he said. “I mean, I grew up watching Ohio State play and now I’m getting a chance to play against them in the Horseshoe.”
Frasure said his parents, sister Alisia and brother Cliff Jr. will be in Columbus for the game.
“It’s awesome to have my family be there to support me,” he said. “I hope some of the people back home can watch it on TV, too.”
Last year, the Buckeyes defeated the Penguins in the opener, 38-6. But YSU bounced back to win seven of its next 10 games, the three losses coming by a combined 13 points.
“We’re trying to put the Band-Aids on from last year, watching the film and seeing what we can do against them,” Frasure said. “No matter what happens, it will be a great experience for us and get us ready to play the rest of the season.
“I’m really pumped up about it.”