FREMONT – A Fremont Ross football fan could have gone to every Little Giant game for the last three years and never noticed Zach Frye.
But that’s because he quietly played a position to perfection which is often only noticed when it makes an error.
But Frye’s unsung perfection on the field parlayed itself Wednesday to a football scholarship, as Frye signed to continue his career as a long-snapper to Division II Notre Dame College.
“I feel pretty good, especially because I got a good deal, being on scholarship,” Frye said. “I’m blessed to go to a great team and it feels great.”
Through his three-year career long-snapping for the Little Giants, Frye never missed a snap. He went 93-for-93 on punt snaps, 80-80 on PAT snaps and 19-19 on field goals. That level of consistency is easy to take for granted, until it’s gone.
“You won’t notice it until next year,” head football coach Chad Long said. “It’s scary, you can win or lose games based on the snapper. Given the weather and everything that can possibly happen, if you give it to Zach and it’s nothing, it’s normal. But you get somebody new that’s not used to doing it, it can change a whole game.”
Frye’s foray into the niche position began in middle school, where he played center on the offensive line. The team didn’t have a dedicated long-snapper, so Frye began to learn the nuances of the position.
“I was awful freshman year, I was awful sophomore year, I was all right junior year,” Frye said, though his numbers told a different story.
Last summer Frye started working with snapping coach Nolan Owen and, with him, attended several camps just for the specialty positions.
At the Pro Football Hall of Fame All-America camp last summer, among some of the best long-snappers in the country, Frye realized he could hold his own with the nation’s top prospects.
“I was like, ‘I’m not terrible. I’m not awful,’” he said. “’Maybe I can get to a small D-2 school and get a scholarship?’”
Frye had numerous options, including Division I schools wanting him to play for them. But a Direct Message on Twitter changed things.
“It’s every player’s dream to go D-I, I had schools like (Bowling Green) and Akron and they’re coming after me hard,” Frye said. “Then this small, D-2 school I never heard of in my life, DM’s me on Twitter. And the coach calls me and we have a good 30-minute conversation and he’s like, ‘Come on a visit and see what we’re all about.’”
While his visit had to be rescheduled because Notre Dame College was playing in the Division II national semifinal, when he arrived on the campus in South Euclid, Ohio, he realized a bigger school, isn’t necessarily better.
“I’d been on the D1 visits already but there it was just a different feeling,” he said. “…It was like, Notre Dame wants me, Zach Frye, a long-snapper from Fremont, Ohio, where BG wanted a long-snapper on their roster and I’m going to be a number to them, something that could help them out.”
Frye, who also is a thrower for the track and field team, is a five-time TRAC all-academic honoree and carries a 3.8 GPA said he is planning to major in a business field with a minor in sports management.
“It’s sad we don’t have any kind of accolades to be able to give him because in our conference or in the state , they don’t honor the long-snapper like they other specialties, kicker and punter. He gets left out on a lot of that,” Long said. “…But he’s the real deal when it comes to snapping. He deserves it for all the dedication he put int to it.”