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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Frey’s Fruition

Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

Junior long-snapper Austin Frey was recently put on scholarship after joining the team as a freshman walk-on. 

Austin Frey finally felt years of hard work come to fulfillment on Tuesday when he picked up free textbooks for the first time.
Ten days before, the junior long snapper was put on scholarship.
“It’s a tremendous honor,” Frey said at Tuesday’s press conference. “The biggest thing is kind of validation from coaches saying, hey this guy came in as a walk-on, it’s not something I did when I was in high school. I had to come here and prove myself for the past three years, and they’re saying, ‘Hey this guy deserves something.’”
Frey’s joy was also felt by fellow former walk-ons who had the experience of being put on scholarship themselves.
“Austin is a kid who’s worked hard since the first day he got here,” Cullen Gillaspia, junior linebacker and 12th Man, said. “He’s my 45 buddy. We both wore the number 45 before I became No. 12. To see him get a scholarship after all the hard work he’s put in, it’s much deserved, much earned and I couldn’t be happier for him.”
Football is a family ordeal for the Freys. Austin’s father, Jack, was a guard at West Point from 1985-89. His grandfather, Dick, played at A&M in the 1950s.
When Austin Frey, who was home-schooled, began high school, his football career went down a different avenue.
“My high school wasn’t very good,” Frey said. “I wanted to play for a team that was good, so my parents started a home school football team that played in the private school league.”
And thus, the Tomball Christian Homeschool Warriors were formed, with an all-star coaching staff, too. Jack Frey was the head coach, with former Houston Oilers quarterback Jack Foote serving as the offensive coordinator.
“We had a pretty good coaching staff,” Frey said. “Even for a home school team we had a lot better coaching than most public high schools.”
Until Frey’s senior season, the Warriors played six-man football. Frey played center, which doubled as a tight end since every player in six-man is eligible to receive the ball. The style of play also gave Frey a slight introduction to deep snapping.
“Whenever we would go into shotgun, in six-man it’s about 10-12 yards,” Frey said. “I would have a lot of snaps each game, so I got a lot of practice of what I’m doing right now.”
Long snapping did not become an emphasis of Frey’s until his sophomore year of high school. His father long snapped in high school and enticed his son to give it a shot.
Austin took off with it, snapping 100 balls daily in his backyard at a target that was two-by-two feet.
“Usually I would try to end by making five perfect snaps at the end of those hundred sets before I could leave,” Frey said. “Sometimes it would get a little frustrating when I was a little tired and wasn’t hitting it that day, but every single time I would end with five, end on a good note.”
Frey then attended the Kohl’s Kicking Camp in 2014, and earned national honors as a long snapper.
“I was like shoot, I’m pretty good at this thing,” Frey said. “That kind of just led to me keep going to those things, going to camps, talking to coaches.”
Attending A&M for football did not seem like a possibility for Frey during his recruitment until he visited with former A&M and current LA Chargers punter Drew Kaser at a camp.
“I kind of just got to talking with him and he was like, ‘Yeah we need a snapper here, we don’t really have anyone that’s going to fill in our senior after this next year,’” Frey said. “I thought, that’s good to know.”
Kaser relayed the conversation to special teams coach Jeff Banks, who invited Frey to attend a practice. One hour into the visit, Frey committed to the Aggies.
“I never thought I would be able to wear the maroon and white across my chest that says Texas A&M with Frey on the back,” Frey said. “Then actually being able to play, I still can’t believe to this day that I’m able to do that.”
Muscle memory, Frey said, is the key to mastering the art of deep snapping.
“Everything is pinpoint, set up the exact same every single time,” Frey said. “I try to aim for that right hip because it makes it easy for the punter to catch it and put it out right there, he doesn’t have to move the ball at all.”
The second step to being an effective long snapper, according to Frey, is to make it a two-part play.
“If you think about it, usually it’s not going to be a good snap. It’s one of those things you have to think that one motion,” Frey said. “Snap, then right after that, try to get downfield and make something happen on the return unit.”
Frey made a pair of tackles against UCLA last season, and said he drew extra attention from the Bruins last Sunday. Frey said playing effectively allows others to make easier plays.
Other members of the special teams units recognize the role Frey plays for them.
“He’s detail-oriented and he means a lot to this team,” said junior wide receiver Christian Kirk. “To see a guy like that go out there and do what he does and see all his hard work pay off is awesome.”
Frey said he is hopeful his long snapping career goes further than college.
Former Aggie Don Muhlbach has spent 14 years in the NFL long snapping, and currently plays for the Detroit Lions. Frey though, knows that in order to be as tenured as Muhlbach is, he must be his best at all times if he reaches that level.
“God made me good at this for a reason,” Frey said. “I also know it’s only 32 of the best guys in the NFL that are able to hold that position. There’s definitely a lot of good talent out there, but it’s something I feel like I have the ability to do.”

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