Q&A with defensive end recruit Marcell Frazier

Frazier spent two years at two different junior colleges before committing to Missouri.

_Two years ago, defensive end Marcell Frazier was ruled ineligible before his freshman season at Nevada-Las Vegas due to a mix-up with a math class he took in high school. After being at two different junior colleges, the lineman committed to play for Missouri this spring.

The Maneater talked to Frazier about his last two years of football, his maturity and Chipotle._

The Maneater: When do you move down to Columbia to start training for the upcoming season?

Marcell Frazier: I was supposed to be down this Thursday, but I got wind of some oversight issues on Friday that said I will need a general elective class so we’re kind of scrambling right now to find a general elective. Hopefully I’ll be down in July. There’s just some technicality things that nobody really saw coming … I’ll be eligible this year, though.

ME: Is it a similar situation to what happened at UNLV?

MF: I was never actually enrolled at UNLV, but I practiced with UNLV. Since I had practiced with them, I wasn’t able to transfer and play in (junior college) the next year.

ME: You’ve had quite the college football journey thus far. You tweeted a photo of your UNLV jersey and not being able to play “lit a fire” under you. Can you talk about that experience?

MF: I remember coming out of high school thinking I had accomplished my dreams and I had made it to the big stage. On picture day (at UNLV), we were already done with camp and I had solidified my position as a backup. Then they told me I was ineligible and I couldn’t appeal to the NCAA and I had to go back home. I decided to go to junior college because I felt I had the talent to maybe get some bigger offers, which ended up happening later down the road. That jersey and that experience at UNLV showed me I could not only do it, but I could also get to a higher platform.

ME: What did you learn from that experience?

MF: First off, I learned I could compete at that level. I remember a lot of the coaches had high praise for me and told me to keep my head up. I also learned I was more mentally tough than I thought I was. In high school, all you had to do was get Cs every semester and you’d be fine. It didn’t really matter what classes you took. I learned you really have to read the fine print when it comes to classes and eligibility. That whole UNLV thing taught me you have to be really tedious when it comes to taking the right classes and making sure you’re passing the right amount of credits. All the little weird things.

ME: What was the biggest difference you saw in your football play in those two years from starting at UNLV to ending junior college at College of the Siskiyous in Weed, California?

MF: I was kind of a big baby at UNLV. I was fresh out of high school and thought everything should be handed to me. I remember them letting the offensive linemen fight me, and I wasn’t used to having the coaches let guys fight. Most of the guys at JUCO are younger, so I felt my maturity level relative to the team’s was through the roof. At UNLV, I was a baby on the team. I was 18 and there were 23- and 24-year olds. I felt like my play was pretty similar throughout all the stops I played at. I’ve obviously gotten more polished, but the biggest thing for me mentally was I thought everything should be handed to me. I learned not to expect anything. I have to earn everything I want.

ME: You received offers from Kansas State, New Mexico State and Arkansas and looks from Miami and Nebraska. What drove the decision to come to Missouri?

MF: There was no other team in the country that has a D-line coach like (Craig Kuligowski). Players go to the NFL year after year. All these guys in my position are getting drafted. When he was recruiting me, he told me Markus (Golden) and Shane (Ray) would go high in the draft. Once the draft happened and I saw how high they went, it really reinforced my decision.

ME: So Kuligowski was one of, if not the biggest, factors that led you to come to Missouri?

MF: On my trip, I felt the family atmosphere here, but he trumps the family atmosphere. Even if I didn’t feel that family atmosphere, having that D-line coach there made such a difference.

ME: There were rumors in January that Kuligowski might leave to go coach at Illinois. Did you hear about that?

MF: If he would have left, I would have taken my trips to Arkansas and Miami. I had visits scheduled for both those schools before I committed, but had he gone to Illinois, I definitely would have taken those trips.

ME: What do you want to bring to this Missouri defensive line?

MF: I’m going to be a motor — a non-stop kind of guy. I want to be a guy like Shane and Marcus. They’re all athletic but they don’t ever quit on plays and they never hold their head down. Athleticism-wise, I think I can do a lot of the stuff they can do but I’d love to bring that relentless pursuit, that effort, on every play. I have the speed and size to do so.

ME: D-Line ZOU is a pretty big deal for this team. You haven’t started practicing yet, but how much pride do you take in that mentality already?

MF: You have to uphold the name. You can’t call yourself “D-Line ZOU” and get zero sacks in five games. If you want to call yourself something, you have to uphold that. If they call us this, then we have to play like it.

ME: Do you have any personal goals for the upcoming season?

MF: Of course I want to start and make an impact. Starting is the main thing. It’s hard to think ahead that far. I just want to get on campus. I thought I’d be on campus this week, but I’ve put my mind back into school mode to get there.

ME: I don’t know if you’ve heard, but SB Nation ranked Mizzou in the top-two college football campuses with proximity to Chipotle. Are you a big Chipotle guy?

MF: I’m more of a Panda Express or a Jamba Juice guy. I’ll definitely be eating at Chipotle now that I heard that, but I’m not too crazy about it. Some people are crazy about it, but it’s not too big a deal for me.

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