WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — As spring football came to a close, there was a name who began to pop up pretty regularly on the practice notes: Jack Freudenthal.
A walk on redshirt freshman tight end from Glen Allen, Virginia, Freudenthal continued to make catch after catch, day after day.
The same phenomena continued in fall camp, as Freudenthal has shown quickness off the line, good route running skills and incredible hands — seemingly never dropping a good ball.
His hard work and performance has already paid dividends, as he found out this week that he’s earned a spot on the depth chart behind juniors Cam Serigne and Devin Pike.
“I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s a weird feeling,” Freudenthal said about likely playing in his first collegiate game Thursday night against Tulane. “I’ve thought about this my whole life and always wanted to play college football, especially in a Power 5 conference like Wake Forest in the ACC.
“It’s a dream come true. I think it’s taken all the work I’ve done through my whole life to make this happen. I’m really excited.”
Freudenthal’s opening came at least partially because Serigne missed much of spring football and portions of fall camp. That gave him countless additional practice time and irreplaceable reps.
“He’s been an every-day guy — he’s not missed a practice or a rep in spring or fall camp,” Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said. “Because Cam was down in the spring, he got a ton of reps. He’s guy that learned from those reps and really benefited from them. He’s become a much better player, and he’s only a freshman.”
He came to Wake as a 190-pound receiver, but after the redshirt season of working in the weight room with strength and conditioning coach Brandon Hourigan, Freudenthal now checks in between 220-225 and is almost in the elusive 1,200 pound club in three core lifts of squat, bench press and power clean.
“They moved me to tight end, so I just kept my head down and started working. Gained weight and hit the weight room. Things have just been working out for me,” he said. “The weight room is what really put me forward to this position. Especially with the redshirt year and having all that time to work out. It put me in good position.”
Freudenthal is adding size and strength to go with an athletic package that could potentially equate to a pretty special tight end.
“He gives us some athleticism and speed at the tight end position,” Clawson said. “He’s the fastest tight end. He’s a converted receiver and the lightest one, so he should be. He’s got very good ball skills.”
While leading Trinity Episcopal to a VISAA Division II Private School state championship in 2014, he visited Wake a couple times and was eventually offered a preferred walk on spot with the Deacs.
“We were aware of him. We liked his film, and he had great interest in Wake Forest,” Clawson said about how Freudenthal got to Winston-Salem. “It just worked out.”
Freudenthal played quarterback, wide receiver, running back, tight end, defensive end, linebacker and safety while at Trinity Episcopal.
“That put me in good position coming in as a walk on. I could play wherever,” he said. “I just love football. I was just excited to get a chance to work hard to get where I wanted to be.”
Freudenthal has secured an opening-game spot on the depth chart, but will have freshmen Brandon Chapman and Thomas Cole nipping at his heels soon.
I’m not too focused on next year. I’m focused on this year. I know they’re great guys,” he said. “I think I can solidify myself as a receiver. I don’t think I’ve dropped a single ball in camp. I think if I can get my weight up to 230 and be more physical with my blocking, I can solidify a spot.
“My goal here is to play football and eventually earn a scholarship. I’m excited about it.”
He’s expecting plenty of friends and family to make the trip to Winston-Salem for the game Thursday, including his parents Kevin and Carolyn Freudenthal.
“They’re all coming to the game and they’re all really excited about getting to see me play,” he said.