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2022 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Jefferson Fritz, S, Mary Hardin-Baylor

Jefferson Fritz is a fantastic athlete and versatile player for Mary Hardin-Baylor. He’s a 2-time First Team All-American safety as well as a 2-time First Team All-Conference punter (3 times as a safety). He recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.
  • Name: Jefferson Fritz
  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 205 lbs.
  • Position: Safety/Punter
  • College: University of Mary Hardin-Baylor
  • Twitter: jefffritz10
  • Instagram: 10_jefffritz

Talk about your experience as a student. What is your major/minor? Did you participate in any other activities or campus organizations other than football?
I’ve had a good experience at UMHB. Everyone there really cares for their students, and they really help you out. Coaches and staff are outstanding and want you to succeed in the classroom as well as on the football field. I chose to major in Sports Management because I like being active. I’d like to stay around sports long after I’m done playing football. Outside of playing football and going to class I haven’t done much else. Although, I have occasionally attended FCA.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?
They would say that I’m a hard worker in practice and in games. I’m always looking to improve and I outwork everyone. I study myself on film in order to become the best version of myself. I’m also known to be a silent leader. I don’t speak much, but when I do, everyone listens.

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?
I’ve been a team captain for 3, going on 4 seasons. I’ve always been part of our Unity Council. I’m comfortable with my leadership role on the team.

I’ve been highly involved on special teams. I play on nearly every unit except for field goals and kick returns. On kickoffs and punt returns, I play as a gunner as well as a punt returner. I also act as the player going for the block on field goal defense. I’ve also been a pretty good punter being named first team all-conference the past 2 seasons.

On defense, I play free safety. I’ve played a lot of Tampa 2 defense. Yet this past year, we were rolling into a cover 3 defense and I ended up playing in the box more. I see myself projecting to the next level as a nickel, although I am versatile enough to play all over. My junior year, our ILB, broke his foot, and I had to fill in at that position. I love being around the ball, and I also like being a ballhawk and seeing how things develop

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
In 2018, I played against QB Jackson Erdmann of St John’s University. He won the Gagliardi Trophy Award that year which is the D3 equivalent to the Heisman. We faced St. John’s the 3rd round of the playoffs, and I remember really preparing for him that game. He’s really the best QB that I ever played against. He was mobile and had a quick release. He was very tough and competitive.

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?
KJ Miller is a WR for us. He and I go at it every day in practice. We make each other better. He’s one of the most gifted players on our team.

Joey Longoria was a DT and All-American who played for us. He loved the game and played his heart out. He had great technique and I was always glad to have him on our side. He was also a great leader who really helped me develop into a great player.

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.
In high school, I broke my right foot my junior year. I really wanted to come back and play, yet I wasn’t able to play again that season. My senior year, on a Monday practice before our 3rd game, I broke my right foot again. That was a tough moment. I questioned whether I was truly meant to play football. Yet, my mom would tell me that things happen for a reason. Being injured taught me to be patient. The first time around I was restless and wanted to get on the field so bad that I didn’t take care of myself properly which made things take longer to recover. With my second injury, I knew what it took to get healthy again. The recovery time was 6 weeks and I ended up being able to come back in 4. Being injured my last 2 years really hurt the recruiting process. Although, I wouldn’t trade my time at UMHB. I’ve had great moments, gained many friends, and won tons of games including a National Championship.

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?
I played baseball, basketball and track & field in high school before getting hurt. I was a pretty good catcher with a decent arm. I threw the shot 45 feet 6 inches which is pretty good for a 175 lb kid. The sport that I would play though is golf. I enjoy playing it, but it’s been the most challenging. I love competition and really want to be the best at everything I do.

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?
I’m a 2-time First Team All-American and 3-time All-Conference athlete (2 times as a punter). I’ve also been a team captain for 3, going on 4 seasons. Yet, my proudest moment happened after winning the national title. Meeting up with my family, seeing that they were so happy and proud will always stick with me.

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.
We were playing against a Jackson Erdmann led St John’s and it was towards the end of the game. There were about 2 minutes left in the game. Erdmann dropped back for his throw as I made a break for the receiver. I grabbed the ball out of the receiver’s hands for the turnover. That sealed our win, and we knew that we were going to win the championship after knocking off the best athlete in our division.

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?
I was always excited to watch Troy Polamalu as a kid. Right now, Tyron Mathieu is a player I like to watch and model my game after. He’s such an inspirational player. He’s not the tallest or the strongest, but he always plays his heart out.

Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?
Post Malone is my favorite music artist. I really don’t listen to music to get pumped before a game. I like listening to mellow music. I can’t just pick one song, so I’ll go with Post Malone’s album called Beerbongs & Bentleys.

What is your favorite comfort food?
Any type of steak is my comfort food. La Pradera is a Tex-Mex restaurant in Kaufman, TX. They have great steak fajitas.

Do you have a favorite movie, TV show or actor?
My favorite TV series is Game of Thrones. I’m a big comedy guy and enjoy actors like Will Ferrell and Adam Sandler. Step Brothers and Billy Madison are two of my favorites.

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Any secret talents?
I enjoy being outside hanging out with my friends and family. I like bass fishing, bowling and watching TV.

Why do you play football? Who or what motivates you the most?
I play football because it makes me a better person. You interact with people from all walks of life, and everyone strives for the same goal. I love the sport and enjoy playing with my friends. Hopefully, football will also help me provide for my family in the future.

The person that motivates me the most is my Dad. He played in college until getting injured, and we’ve really bonded over football.  I’m also very competitive and self-motivated. I’ll always push myself to be the best at what I do even if we’re playing cards. I hate losing more than I love winning.

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