Whether by design or out of necessity, few teams across the nation relied more heavily on walk ons this past year than NC State. With that in mind, you can forgive Hargrave TE Rob Fronk if his eyes widened a bit when exploring the possibility of walking on and becoming a part of the Wolfpack football program.
However, before that could happen, the Apex native first made the trek to rural Chatham, Va and Hargrave Military Academy. The prestigious prep school has a storied history for developing college talent and Fronk told Pack Pride recently that his experience there was a good one and should pay dividends as he embarks on his college career.
“It was actually a really good experience for me,” said Fronk. “I got to work with really good competition there that should help me transition me from playing high school to college ball. Everybody at Hargrave is good. The whole military aspect of it was good because it teaches you how to be disciplined and all that. So, it was definitely a good experience.”
Hargrave doesn’t rely heavily on the tight end in it’s offense but Fronk said he made the most of his opportunities when they came.
“I had a couple of catches every now and again. They obviously didn’t throw to me as much as high school but they threw me some seam routes, some out routes. Basically, they just threw to the wide receivers most of the time.”
Before deciding on NC State, Fronk had received quite a bit of interest from a number of schools. But in the end, he knew Raleigh was where he wanted to be.
“I had an offer from Georgia State,” he said. “They were just starting up their program down there. Marshall had offered me. Missouri State was showing a lot of interest. Also, there was Virginia. They were really interested until they had the coaching change. Maryland and Uconn were showing some interest at the end but NC State was just the right fit for me.”
So why NC State?
“I definitely wanted to be close to home. I had been to a couple of NC State games during the season and they gave me a tour of the facilities. We went around the campus and met the coaches. I’ll be honest, I was just impressed with the whole thing they’ve got going on there. They seem to be a program that’s gonna be on the rise and I just wanted to be a part of that. They’re a great school academically and can’t ask for more than that.”
Fronk admitted he didn’t overlook NC State’s willingness to play walk ons as well. A fact that made him believe, if others can do it, he could as well.
“Actually my coach at Apex, he had coached Taylor Gentry in the Shrine Bowl and he would always be telling me that Gentry was just like me- same type of character, a lot of the same skills and he’s playing at State right now. That kind of turned my head a little bit and made me think I could turn some heads over at NC State, maybe.”
Fronk will enroll at NC State on Monday with the goal of contributing while being realistic enough to know that he has a ways to go before he’s ready to see live action. First on the agenda will be to get his body ready for the rigors of major college football.
“Coach Willis basically told me I needed to put weight on. I’m at about 215 right now. I’m 6-5 and I’ve got a good frame. So hopefully they’re going to do their thing once I get on the diets and weight lifting and maybe put on 20-30 pounds and play that athletic tight end position. I think I can do it.”