Frysinger Moving Forward

Former Illini wideout Jordan Frysinger has the option to continue his academic path at Illinois if he so chooses.

Jordan Frysinger has been reaccepted to the University of Illinois.

That's good news for the former Illini receiver, who twice ran into problems with the law before his career at Illinois had a chance to take off. While he still hasn't made the final decision to return to Champaign, simply having the option to return to the university has picked his spirits up tremendously.

Frysinger's football career at Illinois ended last spring, but he's now positioned himself to get back on track academically. For Frysinger, who agreed to speak about his return and future plans but declined to speak about the legal details of his past, it's a step in the right direction.

He was arrested for reportedly fleeing from an officer while redshirting as a freshman in 2012 and pleaded guilty to felony endangerment for allegedly having sex with a female teen incapacitated due to intoxication stemming from charges in his hometown of Steuben, N.Y.

After he left the university, he moved back home with his family in order to focus on overcoming this difficult time in his life.

"Its been holding me up for over a year," Frysinger said. "Going back home was terrible, it was actually one of the worst things that has happened to me, because I couldn't have been happier at Illinois. It was a perfect place for me, but I had to go home, and its been keeping me out of school and stuff for 11 months now."

He declined to speak specifically about his past missteps, but he did say that he put himself in bad situations, which led to learning hard lessons.

"It just shows that you have to stay suspicious, and you have to realize you're not safe," he said. "You have to realize that the situation you're in is not definite. Putting yourself in a questionable situation can 100 percent change your life, and redirect the path that you're going down. I think a lot of people have learned that, that know my situation and think about how it could affect them. I think that when this is all done, I can possibly help other people learn from a situation where they put themselves in a questionable situation."

Illinois was his 'perfect place,' for various reasons. He had many family members living near him in the Midwest, had gained great friendships on campus, thrived academically, and was believed to be a future contributor for the football program. Frysinger was a product of the Zook era, and was recruited by the former Illini football staff. However, once he withdrew from school, Illini football also became a thing of the past.

"Having football taken away was the hardest part," Frysinger said. "You do something since you're eight-years-old until middle school and high school, then you finally reach a goal that you've been dreaming about since you were little to be able to play at the collegiate level, and then it gets taken from you. Its obviously devastating."

Football was not the only thing taken away from the young athlete. Frysinger says this hard time has taught him life lessons about loss, friendship and choices. He says he leaned on his mother most for emotional and mental support. Others who use to be close friends, Frysinger says, distanced themselves after he ran into trouble.

"You have a bunch of people who you thought were your friends, and it turns out when something like this happens you find out who your real friends are," Frysinger said. "You find out who wants to be there with you and who doesn't want to be there with you. And there are plenty of situations of people who I thought were my friend that just disappeared."

Frysinger is well aware of the backlash and negative connotation that he has gained throughout the Illini Nation, his hometown and elsewhere, but believes that there is more than meets the eye. His hope is that people will give him a second chance.

""Be impartial. Wait. You haven't heard my side of the story," Frysinger said. "Granted you haven't been given an opportunity to hear my side of the story, but every single person knows there are two sides, so what you read in the media and what you read in the newspaper or see on TV, its not always 100 percent of the story."

Even though he believes people have not heard his side of the story, there is one thing that he is 100 percent sure about: His return to the field. While a spokesman at Illinois said earlier this week Frysinger will not return to the team, he's hoping his return to school is the first step in eventually reuniting with his passion.

"I don't have a doubt in my mind that I'll be able to play football again. I'm not sure where," he said. "I'm not sure if its at Illinois. I'm not sure if its at a Division III school, or at a community college. I'm not sure, but I'm going to be able to do it again, and that's something that I'm striving for. Right now I'm going to be a student for just a semester and get back into the swing of things."

Coach Tim Beckman had only been around for a short period of time before Frysinger left the program, but Frysinger says the two were gaining a great relationship. Beckman emailed a couple times throughout his departure to see how he is doing in New York. However, Frysinger expressed gratitude for the support, a move that Beckman didn't have to make considering his return was never under serious consideration.

"Being accepted to come back is awesome," Frysinger said. "It's the best thing that's happened to me this past year. I haven't seen my mom happier, and I haven't been happier in a year. Honestly just knowing I've been re-accepted has picked me up on a day-to-day basis. I couldn't be happier. I feel like I'm looking forward to something, whereas before I was just existing and moving along with the pack. Now I'm getting y stuff together, moving around, doing something positive. I'm just ready to get back in school and continue with my degree."


Illini Inquirer Top Stories