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Exclusive Interview: LS Austin Frey, Texas A&M University

Austin Frey (@AustinFrey55) via Twitter

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TSJ 101 Sports’ Exclusive Interview with 2019 NFL Draft Prospect, Austin Frey

Professional sports has always been a pressure cooker — especially in the NFL, in particular, where your daily development is put under a microscope. A lack of results will signal the end of your career. Yet, few positions deal with constant pressure to the extent of a long snapper. Every single snap is crucial, one high snap can result in points for the other team or lack thereof for your own team.

TSJ had the pleasure of recently interviewing Texas A&M long snapper Austin Frey. Frey is a Senior who started 46 games for the Aggies throughout his 4-year career. Frey was a finalist for the David Binn Award, given to the best long snapper in the nation.

After appearing in all 12 games in his final season, the Texas A&M long snapper has declared for the draft. Frey’s proficient long snapping also lead to Texas A&M punter Braden Mann winning the Ray Guy Award, given to the best punter in the nation.

Khadeem Dennis: Did you have any role models growing up?

Austin Frey: Yes, Tim Tebow was a big role model for me. Since he was homeschooled, was a Christian, and played football he was who I wanted to be like.

KD: How was your experience playing 6-man football at Tomball Christian?

AF: I loved it. It was such a fun way to play football. Everyone being able to go out for a pass made it very interesting and high speed. It was a great experience.

KD: How was the transition to 11-man football for you your senior year of high school?

AF: I had played it before and obviously I watched it growing up, so I was used to it. It was also tough though because we had lost a lot of the size from the year before, so we didn’t have much of an offensive line. I got to play a lot of different positions due to injuries, so it made for a memorable last year of high school football!

KD: How influential was your father Jack in getting you to commit to deep-snapping?

AF: He was the reason I got into it. He had done it in high school to add to his resume for playing college football, and even though I wanted to play another position in college he suggested I start working on it to tell coaches I can do that as well. He also helped me travel around the country going to camps and visiting schools, so he had a huge part in me getting to college.

KD: What was the recruiting process like for you as the #4 ranked long snapper and why Texas A&M?

AF: Being the fourth-ranked long snapper is much different than being the fourth-ranked quarterback. I still had to go to camps and talk with coaches and initially it was hard to even get a preferred walk-on offer. Unless you are the [best] snapper coming out, most coaches want to see you in person, so I had to go to camps and show how good I was. I had about six preferred walk-on spots that I would have to go in and compete, so I had options.

Texas A&M was always the dream school. My grandpa had played there and then almost all my cousins went to Texas A&M, so it was almost engrained for me to go there. I had gone to A&M games since I was six years old, and no other place ever compared to it when I visited other schools.

Football Runs in the Frey Family

It’s not hard to see that Austin Frey’s football career has been heavily impacted by family. His father Jack Frey ultimately led him to long snapping. Jack’s dad Richard played football at Texas A&M himself. In fact, Aggie football was a special part of Frey’s childhood. He attended games when he was just six years old.

Simply put, Austin was destined to be one of the nation’s best long snappers. His parents had a heavy hand at Tomball Christian, where 6-man football gave him plenty of practice snapping. They also undoubtedly taught the reward of hard work to Austin at an early age.

KD: One trait that every long snapper should have?

AF: [I think] Every long snapper should have the tenacity to constantly get better each day.

KD: How do you handle high-pressure situations?

AF: It took me a little getting used to high-pressure situations coming from such a small high school, but I eventually learned how the big moments were just like practice and all I need to do is focus on the small things (finish the snap and follow through) and everything will be great. After playing in front of the crowds we had at A&M, on the road, and in bowl games, it really doesn’t even phase me at this point.

KD: Hobbies outside of football?

AF: I love the outdoors so skiing, hunting, camping, and working out are what I love to spend my free time with.

KD: What were you like emotionally once you were granted your scholarship during your Junior Year at Texas A&M?

AF: I had been dreaming of that moment for about three years and wanting to be a scholarship athlete for my whole life, so it was very emotional. I was extremely grateful. I also felt as though my hard work and tenacity had earned it, so it meant a lot that I got it after I had started 2 years. The whole team swarmed me, and they were all excited for me because they saw how hard I worked. I called my brother, and then parents as soon as I could!

KD: You’ve been the model of consistency throughout your career at Texas A&M. How did it feel being one of the five finalists for the David Binn award?

AF: It was quite the honor. Snappers are hardly ever recognized so it was nice to be recognized, but mostly it felt good because I knew to get that award meant I had been a valuable and helpful part of my team.

KD: Your fellow special-teams counterpart, Braden Mann, won the Ray Guy award this past season. How special was that for the entire special-teams unit?

AF: It was something we all took pride in. Braden had a great year and he is going to do amazing things in this next year, and in the NFL, but it was for fun for us to know we got to play a part in his success.

KD: How do you want your teammates and coaches at Texas A&M to remember you?

AF: The biggest thing I want people to remember me for is being someone they can count on to be there for them on and off the field. The guy that is going to get things done no matter how long it takes. As well as someone that is true to himself with never changing based on people he is around or what is on the line.

KD: You married your college sweetheart Maddie in June of 2018. How has she affected your experience at College Station?

AF: She made my experience so much better. So many times, finding her in the stands after big games, having dinner after games, having her come to the hotel the night before and sit out by the pool to talk. She made my time so much more enjoyable by constantly being there for me in tough times and then helping me enjoy the big moments.

KD: How important has your faith been in building the man you are today?

AF: My faith kept me grounded during my time at Texas A&M. It is something I choose to keep my faith close to me because without it I feel incomplete and empty. It helps me remember I am here not only for football, but to make a positive impact on people’s lives.

KD: How do you deal with self-doubt?

AF: That is something I really learned to deal with during my first two seasons as a non-scholarship player at A&M. My faith plays a big role in it as it gives me the freedom to go out and do what I have been gifted and trained to do.

I also go back to my preparation, fundamentals, and the hundreds of thousands of perfect snaps I’ve made in my life perfecting my craft, which gives me the confidence to know “I got this!” I like to remember times of success or watch film of those times to remember that those doubts are false and to remember who I am.

Only the kicker can relate to the level of monotony that comes from improving at the long snapper position. The best players find motivation in repeating the same motions thousands of times. Imagine Steve Nash shooting a free throw or Adam Vinatieri attempting a PAT. Soon, meticulous preparation allows for the player to remain in autopilot, building a level of consistency.

This concept is no different for Austin Frey. Frey played in 46 games in his Texas A&M career. A countless amount of in-game snaps (and even more practice snaps) have made Frey one of the best. The greatest long snappers make every snap look the same. While Frey understands this, he’s always looking to improve.

KD: As a deep snapper, what is one skill you are looking to improve on?

AF: I feel very comfortable with where I am, but there is always something to get better on, whether it’s refining my location, my ability to give the holder the laces up on my short snaps or increasing my velocity on my punt snaps. No matter how good you are, you can still improve.

KD: If you couldn’t play football, what would you be doing?

AF: I want to be a college strength and conditioning coach. I had a few offers for internships after this fall, but I wanted to fully focus on playing in the NFL.

KD: If there was a kid whose dream was to be a long snapper in the NFL, and you could give him some advice, what would you say to them?

AF: [I would tell them to] Find your “why”. This game is fun in high school, but it is work in college/NFL. There are early mornings and late nights and you won’t make it unless you have a bigger reason behind it.

Your “why” is what will push you to be a better snapper even when everyone says you are good enough. It will push you to be at your best at every moment. And, remember to enjoy the moments. They come and go so fast. Don’t let your time playing this great sport pass without noticing how special it is.

There are many good long snappers that grace the NFL stage every Sunday. Many good long snappers have committed to NCAA programs across the nation. However, to be considered an elite long snapper, you need an edge. Contrary to what the elite trainers will tell you, that edge generally comes from the inside.

Every professional athlete needs to have a burning desire to continue competing. That desire becomes much more important when considering how repetitive the position can become. However, that repetitiveness doesn’t seem to get to Frey as he has dedicated his whole life to long snapping. Also, Frey has undeniable respect for the game, meaning that every snap is that much more important to him. Frey’s love for the game will give him an edge over other center’s as he hopes to play in the pros.

KD: How are you training and preparing for the draft or other pro opportunities?

AF: Right now, I am training about 5 hours a day with snapping and running in the morning and lifting in the afternoon. I snap with an NFL snapper so he has taught me a lot about what I will need when a team picks me up, and then my brother who is a college strength coach has been creating my workouts, so I am in the best shape of my life right now.

KD: Three words that describe you as a draft prospect?

AF: Dependable, coachable, and relentless

KD: What will an NFL team get by taking a chance on you?

AF: They will be getting a long snapper that puts the ball where it needs to be every time and will be working every single day to be my absolute best for my team. I will represent the organization on and off the field with great respect and will never be satisfied with being enough.

KD: What can Texas A&M fans expect from you going forward?

AF: They can expect me to be an Aggie forever, and to represent the university in the best way possible. I didn’t just play at a school – I played at my home. There is a spot in my heart for Texas A&M and I will be going back as often as I can.

#GigEm

Following the long snapper mantra, it’s apparent that Frey’s career has been built on consistency. As a David Binn Award finalist, long snapping has essentially become second nature for Frey. More importantly, his faith has always been a driving force that will continue to push him as he prepares for the next level.

Frey will surely be a serviceable long snapper for years to come for whatever franchise takes a chance on him. Frey’s training regimen will be what ultimately pushes him ahead of his competition. Follow Austin on Twitter @AustinFrey55 to follow his journey!

Photo Credit

Featured image courtesy of Austin Frey (@AustinFrey55) via Twitter

Follow Khadeem on Twitter at @ReachingGod and TSJ’s NFL Department @TSJ101SportsNFL

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