Sun Devil football player excels in the classroom, sets sights on NFLPosted: Updated:
It was a game ASU would rather forget -- a heartbreaking loss this season for Sun Devils when the University of Arizona Wildcats reclaimed the Territorial Cup.
For Sun Devil wide receiver Frederick Gammage, the game was a personal best of his collegiate football career. Gammage made 12 catches for more than 100 yards and a touchdown.
But off the field and in the classroom, Gammage also shines.
This season, he, along with teammate running back Nick Ralston, were the only two student-athletes in the PAC 12 to receive perfect 4.0 grade-point averages.
"A lot of people don't see what we do," Gammage said.
While college football alone is a full-time job with players practicing 6 a.m.-1 p.m., followed by study hall until 4 p.m. each day, the Tempe native excelled both athletically and academically.
Gammage said his success started with the path on which his parents set him.
"Super close," he said of his family. "Family is the biggest thing. It's my rock."
When Gammage was 8 years old, his dad got him started in tackle football, and was his coach until high school. He set high standards.
"[He] always told me, 'It's grades before you can play,'" Gammage recalled. "If I didn't meet my dad's expectations, I wasn't able to play the sport, so I had to excel in the school."
Gammage's parents enrolled him at Brophy Preparatory High School in Phoenix.
"They gave us college-level work, and they treated us like college students," Gammage said.
Once at ASU, he entered the football program as a walk-on redshirt freshman, led by a coach that required a minimum 3.0 team grade-point average.
Gammage accepted the challenge. By his redshirt sophomore year, he earned a scholarship from Coach Todd Graham. Gammage calls it his proudest moment.
"Just because I was able to call my mom and my dad and tell them they don't have to worry about tuition anymore, and they don't have to take out any more loans or anything like that," Gammage said.
By sacrificing weekend parties and staying out of trouble, Gammage says he never lost sight of his goals.
"I always just keep them in my head, but it's better if you visualize it," Gammage said. "In my house, in my bathroom, I'll write my goals on my mirror, so every morning when I get up and brush my teeth, I'll look at those goals and it's just a daily reminder."
His has some advice for future football players, students or anyone with a dream. It's also his personal motto: "Have fun; be blessed."
"It's just a daily reminder to have fun in everything you do, and just never forget what God has already blessed you with," Gammage said.
Gammage says his next two goals for the new year are to complete his master's degree and see if he can make it to the NFL.
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