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Frederick ready to excel on field, in classroom

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Aaron Brenner/Special to the Gazette
February 5, 2009
— Travis Frederick isn’t your typical college freshman. Nothing close to it, in fact.

For one, he’s 17 years of age. After finishing his senior season at Walworth Big Foot High School last fall—playing in the state championship game six weeks ago—Frederick passed up prom for pads, enrolling in spring classes at the University of Wisconsin after graduating a semester early as a valedictorian.


Frederick will be one of four early decision recruits to go through spring ball with the Badgers.


Not only is Frederick considered a top offensive line recruit, but he expects to achieve the highest of academic success at the university as well. He’s still deciding between majoring in aerospace and computer engineering; not exactly a conventional academic track for a Division I football player.


Impressed? Don’t forget: Frederick wasn’t old enough to vote in the last election.


“I’m only 17 years old, so I can’t sign my own papers,” Frederick said with a grin wider than his 6-foot-4, 315-pound frame. “I have to fax (them) home to my parents.”


Being that he’s arrived on campus earlier than 17 other Wisconsin recruits, Frederick is hoping to get ahead of the curve, physically and mentally, before the 2009 season starts up in September.


“When we go into summer camp with the new freshmen that are coming in,” Frederick said, “I’m already going to know what’s going on and they’ll be looking to me for advice, just I’m looking to the upperclassmen for help right now.”


When Frederick came on his official visit to Madison, one player he identified with was freshman offensive lineman Jake Current, who also early enrolled in spring 2008. Current went on to make UW’s two-deep depth chart as backup left guard, which serves as inspiration to Frederick.


“He’s come a long ways from where he was when he came in,” Frederick said. “He actually played a little bit last year, which is kind of promising to see that it’s a possibility.”


Frederick is ranked just outside Scout.com’s top 100 list for offensive linemen. Allen Trieu, the Midwest Recruiting Analyst for Scout, said Frederick could have an instant impact as an interior lineman due to his size and run-blocking ability.


“He is your classic Badger lineman, he’s a big kid, he’s tough, he’s physical, he’s gritty, and he blocks until the whistle,” Trieu said Tuesday in a phone interview. “I think that’s going to fit in perfectly up there.”


With the Badgers losing both starting guards (Andy Kemp and Kraig Urbik) from 2008 to graduation, Frederick might be plugged in sooner than expected. He’s looking forward to the challenge of potentially stepping into the most hallowed position at Wisconsin.


“The tradition here at Wisconsin is great,” Frederick said. “Wisconsin always produces … good linemen, always hard-working and intelligent linemen. That’s important for me because I think I fit that kind of mold.”


To call Frederick merely intelligent might be understating it. He even wowed his new coach, Bret Bielema, simply by mentioning his career aspirations.


“When he told me wants to major in aeronautical engineering, I had to refer him to somebody who knew what he’s talking about,” Bielema joked. “He’s been here a few weeks, and he’s been doing a great job on campus.”


Frederick, acknowledging a weakened economy, already recognizes how a UW education will help him get a job in engineering, if football doesn’t continue after graduation.


“(Wisconsin) is a great academic place,” Frederick said. “That’s No. 1 on my priority list.”



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