Frix goes from 106 to 105 overnight

ATHENS – One hundred and five players were invited to camp when the Georgia Bulldogs started their season. Ty Frix was No. 106.

The freshman longsnapper from Calhoun had hoped for an invitation as a preferred walk-on, but when it didn't come, he was content to wait for 2009.

Frix packed up his dorm room last week and headed home to Calhoun to visit his grandfather, who was in the hospital after gall bladder surgery.

That's when the phone call came.

"I was over to see my grandparents." Frix said, "and at about 8 o'clock, coach (Joe) Tereshinski called me and basically told me I had to get back to Athens as soon as possible."

That was last Saturday. Starting longsnapper Jeff Henson had just been suspended from the team after his second arrest in less than a year. There was an opening on the team, and Frix would be part of preseason camp after all.

"Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd be here today," Frix said. "My reaction was, first of all, it's one of the greatest opportunities of my lifetime, and second was just to get back home and get packed and see how quick we can get down there."

Being in Athens was always the dream for Frix. His father, Mitch, was the snapper for the 1980 national champion Bulldogs, and red and black were part of Ty Frix's DNA.

He had preferred walk-on offers from Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Auburn. Duke had even talked about a scholarship. But there was never a question in Frix's mind where he'd be.

"I told them I was set in stone and told them I was reporting (to Georgia) in January," Frix said.

The dream of playing for Georgia began as a child. His father had snapped for Rex Robinson and Kevin Butler, legends among Bulldogs kickers.

When Frix was in grade school, he hadn't thought too much about following in his father's footsteps. He had played football recreationally, he said, but hadn't joined a team at school.

So one afternoon, Mitch Frix decided he would teach his son how to be a snapper. Maybe it didn't have the glitz and glamour of being the star quarterback, but as he told his son, "Maybe it will get you some playing time some day."

"That's one of my most vivid memories of childhood," Ty Frix said. "That's why I'm here today."

Frix finished high school in December, hoping to get a jump on making the team by being on campus in the spring. He participated in spring practice and impressed his coaches. He even had a chance to work with Robinson and Butler, who showed him the ropes and offered pointers.

"The friendships that my dad made in the early ‘80s have really followed over to me, and they've really helped me out as well," Frix said.

Still, with two players ahead of him on the depth chart – Henson and senior Bo Fowler – there simply wasn't enough room on the roster to bring him in for the fall.

Henson's arrest and subsequent suspension changed things. Frix called Henson one of the nicest players on the team, but opportunities like this one don't come along every day.

"Every tragedy is an opportunity," Frix said, "and I feel really bad for Jeff, but this is an opportunity for me."

So now Frix is part of the 105 players who make up the No. 1 team in the country. Although a bit undersized at 6-foot, 200 pounds, head coach Mark Richt likes Frix's chances.

Fowler, the only player standing between Frix and a starting job, said the freshman has a quick snap and a bright future.

But however things work out, whether he's a starter or just a student, Frix said he is right where he wants to be.

"I've wanted to be here my whole life," he said. "Preferred walk-on, scholarship, regular walk on, this is what I was going to do. And if football didn't work out for me, this is the college I wanted to be at, and I'd take it one step at a time. There's no better place to be."


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