A key component of any successful kicker’s career is to make clutch kicks at the end of games. Missed opportunities early in the game are forgettable, but everyone remembers the last-second field goals that win ball games. For Matthew Frey out of Paulding County, last Friday was his big opportunity to create one of those ever-lasting memories.
Their Douglas County opponent was at the time ranked in the top 10, and favored by over +20 points according to the Maxwell spread. Now, with just 30 seconds on the clock, Paulding County was within striking distance for a field goal down 19-20. Earlier in the night, Frey had already knocked in two field goals, but as he was lining up his 3rd and longest attempt of the night at 40 yards, a whole lot more was on the line. A huge upset, perhaps the best night of his kicking career and of course the glory of making the game-winning play.
The senior lined it up, and drilled the ball through the uprights, giving Paulding County a 22-20 lead. It was the biggest upset of the weekend, and just a few short days later Frey earned a spot in the top 10 plays in the state, where he ran away with the vote for first place.
To get to that winning-moment, we had some hurdles to jump from earlier this year, but that didn’t stop the senior from enjoying the process.
“The offseason felt like a dream come true. Finally getting out of the house, seeing my teammates, and getting to workout was awesome, but at the same time no one really knew if we were going to have a season so we just really went to work, praying that we would have a chance to play,” he said.
Frey has worked at his craft and really improved his kicking distance over the last year.
“I have definitely improved the most on kickoffs. Last year, I struggled technique-wise to get it into the endzone and this offseason I really worked on improving my steps. After 2 months of working, the first game came by, and I hit the ball off the uprights – it felt really rewarding to see that improvement from last year.”
Obviously, the improvement in his strength will certainly help on kickoffs, and he already showed good leg strength even as a junior where he had longs of 48 and 47 yards with no kicking tee either. Also, no matter what the pressure is, the 2021 recruit takes pride in his ability to stay calm, cool, and collected.
“My ability to stay focused and get the ball off. There were many games where I had to handle a bad snap off a punt, and then get hit by the guys rushing the punt and it obviously hurts and doesn’t feel good, but I know my team is depending on me to get the ball off. As a kicker/punter my job is to cap off the drive, even if I’m getting trucked in mid-air or on my plant foot.”
Special teams during the offseason is a fickle beast. In general, that side of the sport just seems like a different world with specialized gurus and pay-for-offer camps monetizing the process more than any other position outside of quarterbacks. The pressure to follow a certain path is real when you are a kicker, but not one that Frey follows.
“I don’t really model my games after anyone, to be honest. When I watch football, I enjoy watching the kickers hit good field goals, but I’m really following my own path. I haven’t trained very often with kicking coaches so a lot of what I know comes from trial and error and reading blogs.”
There is something refreshing about that approach too. We respect any athlete who seeks out self-improvement without the encouragement of another person. That sort of self-motivating behavior typically leads to long-term progressive growth, especially as the athlete gets older.
Frey maintains a strong list of goals for the remainder of the season.
“My goal for the remainder of the season is to continue to be perfect on field goals, improve my technique on punts, and improve my kickoff consistency. My end of the season goal is to hopefully make the all-state team and be taken seriously as a d-1 kicking prospect. It’s very hard without stars because I can’t afford to pay for camps, but hopefully, my film and stats can vouch for me.”
The 4.0 student-athlete definitely impressed, and even going into this fall we had Frey projected as a D1 kicker. The added strength over the last year should really just cement that projection in our opinion, and over the last year he has heard from good programs.
“I have been in contact with Yale, Memphis, Kennesaw State, and some smaller schools. Currently they have stopped recruiting me tho, so I’m really trying to improve, and show out this season so prove that I can play at a high level.”
We definitely think D1 programs should give him a look. Not only is Frey a rock-solid spcialist with the potential to play both kicker or punter at the next level, but he is also an impressive student, so it’s really just a matter of time before his recruitment picks back up in our opinion.
Interested in recruiting Matthew Frey? Click HERE to visit his Recruit Georgia profile.