Frazier Continues To Defy Odds

From High School to College, this former Bearcat has learned to defy the odds against him and excel.

For whatever reason, some athletes seem to enjoy and excel at being the underdog. That certainly seems to be the case with Andre Frazier of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Despite having a father that played in the NFL, Andre attracted little interest from Division IA schools as a senior at the Hughes Center in 1999. The best he could muster was an offer by ex-Bearcat football coach, Rick Minter, to walk-on at Cincinnati. Andre made the most of that modest opportunity from the very beginning. As a redshirt freshman, Andre was voted the scout team's top player. As a freshman, Andre was named to the Conference USA All-Freshman squad. His sophomore season saw him make eight starts and once be chosen by the conference as its "Defensive Player of the Week." His junior year was successful enough for him to be voted the team's best defensive lineman and be named 2nd team All Conference USA. Andre ended his Bearcat career in style by being named 1st team All Conference USA and moving into 2nd place on Cincinnati's all time sacks list. But despite all his collegiate success, Andre returned to his underdog role as a long shot to get drafted into the NFL just one year ago.

Andre handled this disappointment with the same quiet confidence he used when going from high school to college, but he also thinks he‘s gotten a lot of help from above. "I've always been confident in my abilities, but truthfully, the Lord has really blessed me. I felt I was good enough to make an NFL team, but I sure didn't foresee a Super Bowl ring."

Another Bearcat, Adam Roberts, is trying to follow in Andre's footsteps. These two have the same agent, and Adam is also trying to make a switch from college defensive end to outside linebacker. Andre and Adam have spoken about this recently, and Andre shared his advice. "The toughest part of making that transition is the knowledge of the game. He's going to need to know when to drop and to read his coverages. I told him to talk to UC's coaches and have them help prepare him."

As mentioned, Andre was a Minter recruit, but he ended his career playing for Coach Dantonio and was appreciative for what he learned from the Bearcat head man. "I think Coach Dantonio helped me to stay confident in myself. As I said, I've always been pretty confident, but Coach Dantonio really reinforced that with me."

As a two time Bearcat captain, it's obvious Andre was liked and respected by his teammates, and he's tried to stay in touch with several of those guys. "I still talk to guys. I talked to (Antwan) Peek when we went down to Houston. I saw Mike Wright when New England was here. I talk to Daven Holly and saw him when we played the Bears. I saw Tyjuan (Hagler) who's with the Colts when we played them. I talked to Jamar (Enzor) a couple times. He's with the Jets. He got picked up late in the year (November 30) and spent the last four or five games on their roster. That should help him next year."

Andre also did his best to follow the 2005 football Bearcats from his home in Pittsburgh and is optimistic about the program‘s future under Coach Dantonio. "I had a small bet with Ben (Roethlisberger) about the UC/Miami game. I felt confident about that game, but it just didn‘t pan out. I didn't get to see the Bearcats play at Pitt, but Coach Dantonio asked me to speak to the team the night before the game. I'd like to stay involved if Coach Dantonio would let me stand on the sidelines during future games. I keep telling reporters when they ask me about UC that I think UC is really going to be good. It's going to happen, and it's going to happen soon."

Andre is currently awaiting his playoff check but has no idea about the amount. When asked if he was looking to spend his playoff money on a big ticket item like a car, he sheepishly answered, " Naw, I'm not going to do anything like that. I'm going to put the money away for my wife and children." Although he'd like to start looking for a house for his family, he feels he's still another year away from making that kind of investment."

Like most Bearcat football players, Andre took care of business in the classroom. He graduated with a degree in finance and also earned a minor in real estate. He's proud of his efforts in the classroom as well as so many of his ex-teammates. "That's a major point that I like about UC. So many guys have gotten their degrees. I actually earned my degree in four years. During my fifth season, I just took extra classes."

Andre is still recovering from a broken leg suffered in the playoffs, but he expects to be 100% when practice starts again in August. It will be another big year for this perennial underdog. He'll be in the last year of his two year contract with the Steelers and looking to improve his stock for the future. If things don't workout with Pittsburgh, there's another team only a couple hours away in Ohio looking for linebacking help in its 3-4 defense, and Andre would look awfully good in brown and orange.