Frederick the Great
The talented two-way performer is tired of hearing about the “big, dumb lineman” stereotype.
With a resume of accomplishments as extensive as Frederick’s, who can blame him?
The junior football standout, who wants to pursue a career in aerospace engineering, uses his 4.1 grade-point average and full complement of inquiry letters from Duke, Northwestern, and Stanford as ammunition to end the negative stereotype.
Frederick’s athletic accomplishments aren’t too shabby, either.
Last season, the 6-foot, 5-inch, 305-pound Frederick was the Rock Valley Conference’s Lineman of the Year and qualified for the WIAA state track and field meet in the discus.
“The big, dumb offensive lineman stereotype does bug me a little bit,” Frederick said. “Some people think that we just block one guy all the time, but our job is different each play.”
Frederick’s job this season has been leading third-ranked Big Foot (9-0) to its first conference championship since 1975 and a WIAA Division 4 opening-round playoff matchup with St. Francis (5-4) here tonight.
“I think Travis is just the total package,” Big Foot coach Rodney Wedig said. “I tell my sons that Travis is a kid you’re going to be watching on television some day on Saturdays and maybe even Sundays.”
Frederick was considered more of an over-sized package during his childhood. The two-way lineman’s enormous size prohibited him from playing youth football.
“I didn’t get to play much pee-wee football because I was over the weight limit, but I got to practice during that time, which helped me stress fundamentals,” he said. “The practice field is where you really have to put the hard work in anyway.”
Frederick’s isolation didn’t last too long.
By the beginning of freshman year in high school, he caught the attention of not only his varsity coach, but also opposing coaches.
“I remember during Frederick’s freshman year, former Brodhead football coach Gary Larsen, who was helping with their freshman team at that point, coming up to me and saying that was the best freshman lineman he has ever seen,” Wedig said. “So we knew he was the real deal right away.”
If freshman football didn’t alleviate the wounds from Frederick’s youth football isolation, idolizing former University of Wisconsin All-America and current Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas took care of the rest.
“Watching Joe Thomas has had a big influence on me,” said Frederick, who wears No. 72 in Thomas’ honor.
“He was a talented lineman and a smart student from Brookfield that I identified with.”
Frederick’s coach can relate to that.
“I remember showing Frederick an article about Joe being a man amongst boys going to state in basketball and track during his senior year in high school, while also being a model student,” Wedig said.
“Travis has basically kept his eye on Thomas since then, including now with the Browns.’’
Frederick also looks up to his older brother, Tyler, who was a first-team, all-conference quarterback for the Chiefs’ 8-3 team last season. Tyler also is a genetic mystery in the Frederick family, Travis said.
“I don’t know how it worked out where Tyler remained small enough to be a quarterback,” he said.
“He definitely is the smallest guy in our family. My dad is big like me, and my 12-year-old brother is already 205 pounds.”
Frederick, however, isn’t confused about how to finish this season—winning a state championship.
In fact, the talented student-athlete already has the final play drawn up in his head.
“The best way to win a state tournament is to be up like we were against Evansville, and finishing off the game with coach calling the victory formation and taking a final kneel to end the game. There is no better way to let us know what we have accomplished.”
Frederick just might get his wish.