Feb. 11, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Two members of the 2014 Michigan State football recruiting class - Chris Frey and Matt Sokol - are getting a jumpstart on their college careers.
Both Frey and Sokol enrolled early for the spring semester and are currently in the midst of winter conditioning sessions with the rest of the team. The freshman duo will also participate in spring drills once practice starts on March 25.
A native of Upper Arlington, Ohio, Frey was ranked among the nation's top outside linebackers by several recruiting services. He was named second-team all-state in Division I by The Associated Press his senior year at Upper Arlington High School after recording 94 tackles, including 13 for losses with eight sacks. Frey also carried the ball 155 times for 855 yards and seven touchdowns.
"Chris excelled at both tailback and outside linebacker in high school," said MSU head coach Mark Dantonio. "He never came off the football field and was able to take over a game by himself. He has great acceleration and possesses a combination of athleticism and toughness, which is exactly what we're looking for in a linebacker. When he came to camp, you could see his closing speed and the ability to run our defense."
Sokol played several positions at Rochester Adams High School, including quarterback, defensive line and linebacker, but is projected to play tight end for the Spartans. He was a multi-dimensional threat as a quarterback, recording more than 1,200 passing yards and 600 rushing yards as a junior before injuries limited him his senior season.
"Matt had a great high school career while playing multiple positions, but he'll focus on tight end for the Spartans," Dantonio remarked. "He's a very athletic and long body that can make plays in space. He has natural ball skills and the ability to run away from defenders. As a former quarterback in high school, he has a great understanding of offensive concepts."
Complete Matt Sokol Bio
At last week's National Signing Day press conference, Frey and Sokol discussed why they wanted to enroll early, how things are going so far in their first month on campus, and why they chose to attend Michigan State University.
Linebacker Chris Frey (Upper Arlington, Ohio)
On what it's been like since arriving on campus...
I got here three and a half weeks ago and it's been pretty crazy. I get the question on why I would want to enroll during winter conditioning, which is the toughest part of the year, but I just think that's part of the game. I look at it in a way that I have the opportunity to come in early and show my talent off a little bit and learn things before the rest of the class gets here. It's been a great start and the guys are great. They have all been helping me out a lot and teaching me a lot about the game.
On what made him want to enroll at Michigan State early...
I knew going into the recruiting process that I wanted to do it. I went to my guidance counselor my sophomore year of high school and informed her that I wanted to play college football at the highest level and if I do get the chance to get a Division 1 scholarship I want to graduate early. I set my schedule so that I could graduate early. I did my senior classes and projects as a junior so that I could get everything done and as a senior I could just take a few classes to fill up my schedule and just play the game.
On whether it helps to have fellow early enrollee Matt Sokol as his roommate...
Yes, for sure it does. We are both going through the same thing. We're both on the same schedule pretty much, so it's nice to have someone there to pick you up when you're slacking. It's really nice to have a roommate that helps you out.
On whether the veterans on the team have welcomed him...
Yes, my second day of class I was walking to class and Kurtis Drummond saw me and picked me up and gave me a ride. Just little stuff like that makes a big difference. It's really nice to have guys here that want to teach me the game and let me in on things they know to help me out. Everybody's been really good to me and Matt.
On what he saw in Michigan State's program during the recruiting process...
Michigan State has the top defense in the nation and a great coaching staff. We've also gone to seven straight bowl games. So when it came down to my decision it was things like that which really pushed me to come to Michigan State. Being around this coaching staff has been great; they've taught me a lot so far. Committing to Michigan State wasn't really a leap of faith because I knew this program has been developed by Coach Dantonio.
Tight End Matt Sokol (Rochester, Mich.)
On what the college experience has been like thus far...
The biggest thing so far has been how great of a family atmosphere Michigan State actually is. Being on this team and being around this school makes is feel like were really a part of special. Other than football I've really like how school has gone. I enjoy the layout a lot more than high school. It's really cool being independent and managing your own time.
On whether he is looking forward to playing spring ball...
I'm really looking forward to playing football again. I've been working with Coach (Jim) Bollman and I know I have a lot to learn, but that's why I'm here early. In the end it will benefit me.
On his decision to enroll early...
I kind of thought about it over the summer and went to my guidance counselor on the first day of school. He told me if I really wanted to do it that it was possible. So I did, and I straightened everything out academically. My decision actually came after my injury and I knew that coming here early would be the best decision for me to recover and then to develop as a football player physically and mentally. It was the best decision for my future and I'm already really happy I made it.
On whether any veteran players have made an impression on him since he has arrived on campus...
To be completely honest, every player on this team has made an impression on me. I didn't expect to be welcomed like this. It really is a family atmosphere. In particular Dylan Chmura has been a real mentor to me since this summer. He's been helping me out and we've been watching film already. He's been showing me a lot of techniques and blocking positions as well as running routes. Zach Higgins and Jack Conklin have been really welcoming too; they're right next to my locker. There are a lot of guys who I really look up to. Connor Cook is a great leader as well as a number of others. There all great teammates.
On how much he and fellow early enrollee Chris Frey have leaned on each other...
I'm really happy him and me are going through this together. Everyone is a year and a half older at least, so it's nice to have someone your age to converse with. We've known each other for a while, mostly through social media but these past four weeks we've really become a lot closer. I'm really happy he's my teammate and my roommate.
On the perception of Michigan State as he was grew up in the metro Detroit area...
Michigan State has always been a popular school around where I came from and there are a lot of Spartan fans in my hometown. I feel very lucky to be here today. Growing up in southeast Michigan, it's a dream come true.