Frohnapfel discusses experiences as UMass quarterback and future plans

Blake Frohnapfel has been the face of the University of Massachusetts Amherst football team for the past two seasons.

The six-foot-six quarterback from Virginia said he doesn’t want his time playing football to end, but that as he looks back on his experience, it is something he will remember for the rest of his life.

Frohnapfel was recognized as a 2015 National Scholar-Athlete by the National Football Foundation (NFF) on Dec. 8. This award recognizes 12 student-athletes for their talent both on the field and in their field of study, with an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship.

If playing professionally does not work out, Frohnapfel wants to continue to work in the sport, with interest in such areas as management, personnel, or scouting.

Frohnapfel’s journey to play for the Minutemen has been a unique one. As an undergraduate, Blake was the backup quarter at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va. He finished his undergraduate degree there early, and transferred to UMass in 2014, leaving him with two years to play as a graduate student.

This transition to UMass is something Frohnapfel said was at first difficult, since he saw Marshall as an extension of home.

“But coming to UMass, where I didn’t really know anyone in the Northeast or in New England at all, it was definitely a big change for me,” Frohnapfel said.

“I left my twin brother and I came up here, kind of thinking ‘What am I doing? I’m on my own for the first time.’ But there’s such a great staff here and a big team atmosphere in the locker room. They made me feel right at home.”

Coming into this program, Frohnapfel was faced with a lot of pressure, something he said he wanted when he decided to transfer. He’s had to push through struggles, both mentally and physically.

“I think there were times last year where I was dealing with a rib injury, when I hurt my leg last year as well, and you’re kind of down because you want to have a chance to help your team,” Frohnapfel said. “You feel like you might get hurt in some way by playing.”

The Minutemen’s performance this year was disappointing. UMass finished the 2015 season tied for last place in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) East Standings and ended with a 3-9 record.

Frohnapfel said that he and his teammates had high expectations for this season and felt that at times, they weren’t fulfilling them. He noted that not winning games is disappointing, but that there is always something to be taken away from it.

“I think, losing, you learn a lot about yourself. I think the guys on the team learned a lot about themselves,” Frohnapfel said, adding that he thinks the momentum will keep growing and developing the future of the program.

Frohnapfel did make some individual marks this season. He finished his UMass career as one of four quarterbacks in program history to record over 5,000 passing yards per game. He also averaged 250 passing yards per game.

Off the field, Frohnapfel has been working towards a dual master’s degree, with one in sports management and the other in business administration from the Isenberg School of Management.

Being a full-time graduate student and the quarterback of the football team can be overwhelming, but Frohnapfel said he believes it will pay off in the end.

“I know in the long run and I guess in 20 years, I’ll thank myself for doing this. But, I know right now, I might be giving up the fun experience I could be having,” Frohnapfel said. “Sometimes I am thinking, ‘This is pretty tough,’ but, I know it’s all worth it.”

As he looks to life after UMass, Frohnapfel said playing at the next level is something he has always dreamed about.

“To still have a chance to play professionally in the NFL I think would certainly be a dream of mine, I would love to do it,” Frohnapfel said. “I know those chances are slim for many and to have that chance would be pretty neat.”

Frohnapfel recently accepted an invitation to play in the 2016 East West Shrine Game, which showcases potential NFL players to benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children.

He advised the teammates he leaves behind to enjoy the whole process.

“Try to do well in everything you do because it goes by so fast. And just, take care of the details, the smaller things that you may not think are that important.”

And these smaller details, Frohnapfel said, in a game or in a career, can turn out to be some of the more important things in life.

Email Kaitlin Boyer at [email protected], or follow her or on Twitter @Kaitlin_Boyer.

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