Because he want to a tiny high school (Big Foot High School. I’m not kidding), Travis Frederick wasn’t highly recruited in spite of twice earning all-Wisconsin offensive and defensive prep honors. he secured a scholarship after impressing the Badgers’ coaching staff during a summer football camp. Then, after graduating high school early, so he could participate in spring practice, he performed so well that he became the first true freshman offensive lineman to start a season opener in school history (in no small part because Cowboys 2011 seventh-rounder Bill Nagy was – gasp – injured and could not play).
Frederick started four games on the season (two at center, two at left guard) then, after redshirting in 2010 (due to the incredible depth on the Badgers’ offensive line), started thirteen games (eleven at left guard and two at center) in 2011, earning Second Team All-Big Ten honors. He followed that up with a stellar 2012 campaign during which he started all 13 games at center and was named first-team All-Big Ten.
As his early success suggests, Frederick boasts a high football intelligence that, at center, allows him expertly to diagnose defensive alignments and to adjust the offensive line accordingly. He has excellent size, yet is mobile enough to get to the second level and block in space. In addition, he’s a good technician and has a nasty attitude: he’s a finisher. On the other hand, he lacks elite athleticism and can be beaten inside by explosive D-linemen when he fails to set up quickly. Here he is in action against Big Ten rivals Michigan State and Ohio State and locking horns with Stanford in the Rose Bowl game.
What do our scouts say about Frederick? Their thoughts follow…
ESPN/ Scouts, Inc. (Gary Horton): top-rated OC; 31st overall
Pass Protection: Massive interior OL with very good awareness, adequate initial quickness in set and a powerful punch. Very quick with his hands. Technically sound with angles. Does a great job of helping out OG while keeping head on swivel. Rarely gives ground to bull rush. Has good core strength and upper body power. Lacks ideal quickness and athleticism at OC. Occasionally struggles to redirect laterally in time to pick up quick blitz/stunt. Feet will occasionally go dead after initial contact in pass pro, which is an area he can improve upon.
Run Blocking: Strong, mauling interior OL in the run game. Lacks ideal mobility and can be slow getting out to second-level at times. But a smart, crafty run blocker with good initial quickness off the ball. Does an excellent job with first step angles as a reach and scoop blocker. Has quick, strong hands and is crafty with hand placement/usage (gets away with a lot of clutching and grabbing of DL because