Fans know the quarterbacks’ names at the top of this week’s
draft: Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker.
Zach Frazer doesn’t come to mind so quickly.
And his name might not be called at all in the seven rounds.
Frazer is prepared for that, although he’s convinced he will be
selected, likely on Saturday when the final four rounds are held.
He brings the same kind of self-assuredness to the draft process
that he did to leading Connecticut to its first Big East
championship and Bowl Championship Series game.
”In my eyes I have the confidence I will get drafted,” Frazer
said. ”In the worst circumstances, it would be a tough thing to
deal with, but I could consider other options. A lot of players
take a different path to the NFL. Tony Romo wasn’t drafted. Kurt
Warner played in Arena Football.
”My dream is to play in the NFL. If it does not work out now, I
know it will work out.”
Not everything worked out as Frazer hoped during his college
career. He initially went to Notre Dame, where he couldn’t beat out
”The playing time didn’t work out, the playing opportunities,”
Frazer said. ”I came to college to play quarterback and be a No. 1
guy and a lot of things didn’t go my way.”
Fortunately for Frazer, then-UConn coach Randy Edsall still had
interest in the 6-foot-4, 240-pound passer. Frazer transferred to
Storrs, but was in and out of the lineup.
He began 2009 as the starter, then injured his right knee in the
second game of the season. His replacement, Cody Endres, held the
job until he hurt his shoulder and Frazer started the last five
games. The Huskies beat South Carolina in a bowl game.
Edsall’s offensive approach was to emphasize the run, and with a
standout halfback in Jordan Todman, that was plenty wise. Todman
rushed for 1,574 yards during this past season, second in the
Football Bowl Subdivision to Oregon’s LaMichael James.
When UConn surged to the conference title by winning its final
five games, Frazer was the starter. He replaced Endres after Edsall
kicked Endres off the team for an unspecified violation of
”This past season, it was the coaches’ decision to go with
Cody,” Frazer said. ”They put him in and he had his personal
thing and he messed it up, and I took advantage of that
”Even though I was out of the lineup, I was always working. I
felt the team always wanted me to get back in. I felt it clicking
even before the season started. I ran everything in those (summer)
workouts as a senior and as the quarterback.”
Some rankings have Frazer as low as the mid-30s among 80 or so
quarterbacks rated. He believes his strong arm, competitive nature
and winning record with a nontraditional football program – does
anyone question that UConn is a basketball school? – will get him
Like any long-shot QB, Frazer invokes the name of the greatest
sixth-round pick in NFL history.
”Tom Brady going in the sixth round, it means a lot for me as
an inspiration,” he said. ”Not that many people know about UConn
football, but maybe they will look at it and say, `Oh, they have a
quarterback there worth looking at.’
”It is really up for grabs. I hope to go somewhere from the
fifth to seventh round. I know I have the ability to play like a
first-round pick, but things didn’t go that way in my college
Until the five-game winning streak, that is. Frazer believes
he’s followed up with a strong run-up to the draft.
”I ran a 4.7 in the 40 on my pro day and before, people thought
I was slow because I’m a big guy at 240,” he said. ”I worked hard
to run a 4.7, I now have shown I have game speed and quickness.
”My arm does not get tired, I could throw for days. And I feel
I can throw any throw.”
To prove it, Frazer scripted 100 passes for his pro day; the
norm for a quarterback is 40 or so.
He also recognizes NFL teams look at more than the physical
skills of a player.
”I like the mental aspects of the game as a quarterback,”
Frazer said. ”The majority is mental and I want the opportunity to
show the NFL coaches I know what to do with the ball and where to
look for pre-snap and post-snap reads.
”I talked to a lot of coaches at my pro day, but none contacted
me for a personal workout or interview. I would really like that
opportunity to show what I can do.”