Austin Frey of Tomball, Texas, was homeschooled from the time he was in kindergarten. When he was in junior high, his parents Jack and Jennifer Frey started a homeschool football team, the Tomball Christian Warriors, to compete among private schools and other homeschool programs.
Jack coached the players, and Jennifer coached the cheerleaders. “It gave our family a way to all be on the field together,” Jennifer said.
After homeschooling two boys and two girls, the couple stepped away from the program when their youngest daughter graduated from high school. But the Tomball Christian Warriors are still going strong with football, cheerleading, and a baseball team. The TCW mission continues to be focused on building Godly men and women through athletics.
High School Football
Austin played six-man football during his first few years with Tomball Christian, which he said prepared him for deep snapping in college.
“In six-man football, everyone is eligible to catch, and I played center,” Austin said. “The snap in the shotgun formation in six-man is about 10 to 12 yards, so I got a lot of practice at what I’m doing right now.”
Austin’s father had played football at West Point from 1985-89 and he encouraged his son to pursue deep snapping to punters and kickers because of the uniqueness of the skill.
“I started snapping about 100 balls a day,” Austin said of his early high school career. “Week after week, just every single day I’d get out in the backyard and snap to a target.”
Austin attended Kohl’s Kicking Camp in 2014, and earned national honors as a long snapper. His single-mindedness paid off upon graduation from high school in 2014, with an offer from A&M University in College Station, Texas.
According to AggieSports.com, originally Frey thought his best bet might be to walk on at Texas Christian University or Florida (where homeschooled footballer Tim Tebow got his start), but Austin had strong ties to A&M. His grandfather Richard “Dick” Frey had played for A&M in the early 1950s.
“Playing at A&M was always the dream,” Austin said. “I’ve been coming to A&M games since I was about 6 years old. I never thought I’d be able to wear the maroon and white, with ‘Texas A&M’ across the chest and ‘Frey’ across the back.”
“If you told me this in high school I would never had believed you. I still can’t believe it to this day — just a 6-year-old kid, living a dream.” Now he’s a 6’1” 220 lb senior, in his fourth year as deep snapper for the Fightin’ Texas Aggies.
Frey, who’s held the position since 2015, has developed into one of the best snappers in college football. He consistently gets the ball where it needs to go and makes the lives of holders and kickers that much easier.
“It’s crazy,” A&M fullback Cullen Gillaspia told the Houston Chronicle. “For a kid to go from playing six-man football while being homeschooled to being a four-year letterman in the SEC while earning a scholarship… it’s been really cool to see how he’s blossomed into the player that he is today.”
In the same Houston Chronicle article, A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said he was grateful to inherit a solid snapper. “The only time you ever notice them is if there are bad snaps,” Fisher said. “But Austin does a tremendous job — and he’s a tremendous human being, first of all.”
Austin is an all-around great guy, with a sense of humor too. On January 29th he tweeted: “Not sure what is worse: applying for a dog walking company or getting denied by a dog walking company.” Ha!
Maybe he’d better stick to sports. A physical education major, Austin is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and personal coach with a USA weightlifting certification and CrossFit L1 certificate.
Austin Frey #45 alongside his wife Maddie, as well as his dad and mom, and flanked by two A&M coaches.
Timeline (courtesy of Texas A&M University Athletics)
2015-16 (FRESHMAN): He was the Aggies’ deep snapper on punt and placekicks; played a big role in the all-conference seasons by punter Drew Kaser and placekicker Taylor Bertolet.
2016-17 (SOPHOMORE): He appeared in 12 games as the Aggies’ deep snapper on punts; also recorded three tackles on punt coverage including two key stops against UCLA.
2017-18 (JUNIOR): He appeared in all 13 games as the deep snapper; part of an Aggie kicking unit that had one kick blocked the entire season.
2018-19 (SENIOR): He appeared in all 12 games as the deep snapper on field goals and punts for the Aggies; had a crucial role in Braden Mann winning the Ray Guy award; given the Mr. Dependable Award at the team’s annual banquet; 2018 Dave Binn Award finalist for top LS in the nation; started an incredible 46 games over his career.
Austin and Maddie
Austin and Maddie Gaines met at Texas A&M when their respective roommates married each other in the summer of 2015, and they were both in the wedding party. They had known of each other for a while, but never had much interaction. But then once they were both back in town for school in the fall of 2015, they started seeing each other and having great conversations.
Around Thanksgiving of that semester, Austin asked Maddie on their first date. It went so well that he continued to pursue her through the Christmas break (and bowl season!) until she finally agreed to be his girlfriend on February 11, 2016. From that point they dated in College Station and then long distance while Maddie was living in Durango, Colorado, during the summer.
Maddie moved back to College Station for their June 2018 wedding so the newlyweds would have time to get settled before Austin started his final season playing football at Texas A&M. He told the Houston Chronicle, “I don’t always get to hang out with teammates, but that’s okay. It’s been cool to be an example of having a positive relationship with a girl.”
Will Austin go pro next? Time will tell, as he’s eligible for the NFL draft this year. 23-year-old Frey is hopeful that his long snapping career goes further than college. He has taken great strides during his football career to get bigger, stronger and faster, which is why he believes playing in the NFL is not that far-fetched.
“God made me good at this for a reason,” Austin said in a press conference. “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.” Meanwhile, he has expressed the following biblical wisdom on his Twitter account:
“You have a lot of heartache ahead if you think playing college or NFL football is ‘making it’- It’ll be said it is just over the next hill, but there is another one after that. Only God can satisfy that fulfillment and value you are seeking. Seek life from the source of life.”
“Your value cannot be earned from what you do or who you are, but only by who’s you are. Talk about value… the Creator of everything died for you, and for me. Live in Him. Walk in the value you have been given.”