Almost 2 years ago to the day one of Oregon's best was calling us to talk about his college plans for the future. Marcell Frazier was a top recruit when he came out of David Douglas in the Spring of 2013. He landed a few D1-AA offers before committing to UNLV on National Letter of Intent day. The road ahead seemed bright and we were all happy that another young man had made it out. At that time Frazier was 6'4.5" and 225 lbs and one of the fastest Defensive Ends we had seen coming off the ball for many years; in fact fellow David Douglas Scott Owmagbe Odidhuizuwa was the last athlete we had seen like that and the UCLA Bruin is now heading to the NFL.
Now listen up you all because this story starts like a typical recruiting story but it takes a few turns and there are lessons to be learned... man of them!
Summer/Early Fall 2013 - Marcell is enrolled at UNLV and practicing. But before the season can get started for him he is informed that a Math class, which was a crucial core credit, was not an NCAA Qualifying Class.
- He is shocked saying, "This was a depressing time for me. I was upset deeply as my school counselor and I had worked all this out and the Class which was a mixed Algebra 2 and Geometry Class, ended up not being an acceptable credit under NCAA Rules."
- UNLV tells him he can not play but offer him a grey shirt arrangement for him to try and correct his classes because they want him.
- Marcell re-evaluates saying, "They only won two games the year before and in my heart I did not feel this was where I should be. So I opted to leave."
Fall Season 2013- Frazier drops down to JC going to Iowa Western JC; a Highly respected program
- During work outs Marcell is injured and ends up not playing much - they want him to stay on the field but not to travel.
- "They only travel 20 guys so here I am only being able to play when I got healthy and only home games. I was offered a Red Shirt and I took it."
- Not too many players Red Shirt in JC but it was a good move in the end.
Spring of 2014- Marcell comes back to Portland and has time to reflect.
- He remembers being contacted by Coach Charlie Roache at College of the Siskyou's in Weed, California and after some soul searching decides this is the right move. "It was the perfect fit and Coach was straight with me. If I came in they could use me and so being a bit closer to home I went for it."
Fall of 2014 - This Past Season- Marcell blows up in the weight room and the field.
- He gains 15 lbs of pure muscle in what he calls, "The best strength training I have ever done! I went up to 265 lbs of solid college football weight and ran a 4.65 40 time."
- Frazier plays, starts, and records 38 tackles and 11 Sacks and the team has a great season winning their Division in California JC Football.
- More importantly he produces impressive FILM!
Associates Degree is near. He needs 9 credits and he is done with a 2 year degree on time!
ESPN and others rank him as the 11th best JC Defensive End in the Nation. Kansas State and New Mexico State offer him scholarships and then mighty MIZZOU of the SEC drops in on him and the SEC powerhouse offers him a 3 year full ride! He is heading there this year to join the Team!
" THE TIGERS told me they needed a top JC talent at Defensive End to come in and play right away as their two starters are headed to the NFL! So I really excited and because I red shirted I have 3 full years to compete! My Defensive Line Coach has put 10 or 11 guys into the NFL in just the past few years and so even that dream is alive and well now."
Success at the HIGHEST LEVEL came for Marcell Thomas and it took 3 schools and some fits and starts but he did it. He is getting his degree. And more.
"I am going to play at Alabama, at Georgia, and Places like Texas A&M and Auburn and Florida. These were my dream schools and the situation could have been so much different if I had stayed at UNLV. I am really blessed and this outcome was something I had to fight for. There were a lot of times I almost quit. My parents just kept encouraging me and let me know that my degree was all they cared about," said Marcell. "The Football side of things was up to me. After High School a lot of that support was gone and the decision I made to move to Siskyous paid off big time. This is all working out and now I feel I can compete with anyone given my new frame and speed. I owe the staff there a lot for this."
Lessons and Take Aways:
1) Get good grades and look closely at your transcripts. Your High School staff is great but how the heck are they always supposed to know what is an NCAA accredited class and what is not. The NCAA changes things all the time. So get help in this area from someone like Eric Jackson in Oregon or Coach Scott Laigo in Seattle.
2) If a school does not feel right to you don't go there. If you are good enough you will make it where you are meant to be. Marcell was on our Radar a 4 Star recruit and belongs at this level. He beat every O-linemen the year he came out at the Nike and other big showcase camps and was by any analysts book a D1 Major Talent.
3) Look at the JC route. Marcell grew to 6'5" and 265 lbs and is now in an NFL body; this is something most high school athletes do not see. The best players in High School are often not the best in college and beyond. Marcell and guys like Mike Remmers (Jesuit 2005-6) were not near their full potential in High School. Mike is a seasoned NFL linemen for the Panthers and was a walk on at Oregon State. LOOK AT THIS ROSTER OF ALL STATE KIDS FROM OREGON AND WASHINGTON AT SISKYOUS RIGHT NOW!
4) Go to a JC where you can play and compete. If you are in Oregon and or Washington and you do not seriously look at a program like Siskyou's on the California border you are nuts. Head Coach Charlie Roche has dozens of success stories and guys like Frazier are not uncommon there. They have proven that they are getting kids to college and getting them their degrees.
On Roache and staff Marcell closed by saying, "That is a great group of Coaches and a great town. It is quiet and if your serious about your grades and football it will help you succeed. If your not serious about Football your are going to get exposed. This is hard, the work you have to put in is brutal at times, but if this is what you really want that place is a perfect fit free from distratcions a bigger town would offer. Coach Roche did everything he promised me he would do for me if I did my part; so I did and now the pay off is going to be huge!"