“I love competitiveness and being coached by great coaches. My work ethic is impeccable and I approach each game with my mind right.”
In 2006, a small but talented kid from Los Angeles, CA’s Susan Miller Dorsey High School named Dwayne Frampton was preparing to play collegiate level football. Although he held scholarship offers from Idaho and Washington State, in addition to garnering interest from the likes of Oregon State, San Jose State, Arizona, and Utah among others, his path to play FBS (Division I) level football was forced to take a detour.
Due to academic issues, Frampton opted for the junior college route and joined the football team at Los Angeles Harbor College. After two seasons with the Seahawks in the community college ranks, Frampton found himself back on the radar of a few Division I schools. In 2010, despite holding offers from Kansas State, Colorado and Idaho once again, Dwayne Frampton joined the Arkansas State program after the Red Wolves showed faith in the speedy 5’9″ 180 pound receiver by being the first program to offer him his letter of intent.
Over the past two seasons, the JUCO transfer has quietly established himself as one of the more productive receivers in the nation. In 2010, his junior year, Frampton hit the ground running with 69 receptions for 738 yards and six touchdowns. This past season, under head coach Hugh Freeze, the senior wide-out had his most prolific season, as he amassed a total of 94 receptions, 1,156 yards and six touchdowns, including five 100+ yard receiving games.
Frampton is currently in Arizona training for the upcoming NFL Draft, and despite the uncertainty as to when or if he will be selected in April, the sure-handed receiver is out to prove that heart and the willingness to work are more important than measurables.
I spoke with Dwayne about his time at Arkansas State, the draft, and his former head coach Hugh Freeze’s jump to Ole Miss.
So Dwayne, coming from the Sun Belt where you don’t get the widespread attention like other players, what do you realistically make of your chances to get an opportunity at the next level?
-”I know they’re very slim, especially coming from the Sun Belt and junior college. Still, with my ethic and my will and the ability that I have, I feel like I can make an impact at the next level like a Victor Cruz if coaches look past my stature.”
After two productive seasons at Arkansas State, why do you think you didn’t receive many opportunities to participate in pre-draft events like Shrine week or the Senior Bowl?
-”Truthfully, I think it’s because I’m a (former) junior college receiver. I only did what guys like (Florida International WR) T.Y. Hilton and (former Troy WR) Jerrel Jernigan did for two years compared to what they were able to do in four. If I was at Arkansas State from my freshman season with the production I had, I think I would have had those opportunities, because I know I don’t pass the eyeball test to some. I was invited to the NFLPA All-Star game and I talked to (NFLPA Regional Director) James Guidry and he called my phone several times. I was set to go in and do what I do, but I had a grade 1 MCL tear before our bowl game. My recovery has come along well since then and I still showed my face at the game and talked to a few people of importance in compliance with eligibility rules.”
How did you approach the offseason leading up to your senior season and what do you think resulted in your obvious bump in production?
-”My faith in god and my sacrifices. Not going out to parties and getting into trouble. Staying after practice and just working hard. Hard work has really been my motto. Doing the extra. I would stay after practice with my quarterback when everyone else was tired. He’d call me at twelve to one a.m. in the morning or call me when he was bored and we would go out and work. He looked at me like I was crazy; I’d tell him, ‘think about it, nobody else in the country is throwing right now.’ We kept throwing until we couldn’t throw any more.”
What would you say was the personal high point of your college career?
-”I’d say I have to have two. Sophomore year in junior college, going into our bowl, I led in yards. I felt great. I experienced the birth of my son and I focused everything on that, and I had to work hard for him. The second high point was the six weeks of my senior season at Arkansas State when I was beating the top guys in the nation in receiving yards, like Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd. I had multiple 100-yard games in a row. It was a blessing for me to finish as high as I did in receiving yards and receptions. I took every opportunity I got and I‘m blessed by it.”
Who is Dwayne Frampton and what does he offer my football team? What are the strong suites of your game that you can offer an NFL franchise?
-”I could offer my will and my ‘want to.’ A lot of people do it because they want to feed their family, and that’s the ultimate blessing you get, but I love football. I love competitiveness and being coached by great coaches. My work ethic is impeccable and I approach each game with my mind right. I have the mindset that I will not be denied. I’m not going in there to be cocky, I’m blessed in what I do and I’m there to help the team. Truthfully, I don’t care if I play gunner, I’ll be a long snapper if I have to. Granted, I feel like I can be a really good slot receiver. I’m bringing hard work and my athletic ability to the table and I truly believe any coach would be happy to see it.
Also, during the (NFL) lockout last season I was doing OTAs (Organized Team Activities) with Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie. He took me in like a little brother; he worked me out at his facilities. I got some good one on ones with him, Hamza Abdullah, safety of the Cardinals, and his brother Husain, safety of the Vikings. (Former Kansas City Chiefs receiver) Samie Parker was out there showing me some things too. (Houston Texans quarterback) Matt Leinart was throwing to me; he had thrown to me before. When I was in JUCO I worked with Matt once and we hooked up again during the lockout. I asked him what I have to do to get to the next level and he told me not to be nervous & do what I do. Matt said I have hands like glue and I’m a good route runner. Even Hamza Abdullah said I’m one of the quickest receivers he’s seen besides (Denver Broncos receiver) Eddie Royal. It’s not cockiness, just more fuel for the fire that drives me.“
Do you watch anyone or model your game after any particular players in the NFL today? Who would you say you best compare to?
-”Three guys for three different types of attributes. Quickness is (Patriots receiver) Wes Welker. I can get to the holes quickly, shake a guy, sit in the window and make tough catches. Mental aggressiveness, I think (Panthers receiver) Steve Smith – I love his competitiveness. Consistency, I think (Patriots receiver) Deion Branch. All of those guys are 5’9” too. I think I can package all of those traits in one. I’ve heard and been told by other guys that I’m an Eddie Royal type, or an old school Tim Dwight. I take that praise and I run with it.“
What can you tell me about your former coach Hugh Freeze? What kind of mentality does he have as an individual & coach and how did he help you personally?
-”I love coach Freeze. I love him because he preaches god first. There was no other way. He told me to go on and have fun with the game. ‘Make some people look silly.’ He got my mind right and he helped me in so many ways mentally. With him, it starts in the offseason. He changed our mindset. He’d make me think positively and tell me ‘what if you do have a breakout game? What if you do break records?’ Not only is he a great coach, but also a great father figure because he’s so genuine. He’s going to do wonders at Ole Miss, I promise you that.”
What can Ole Miss fans expect, as Hugh makes the jump to Oxford this offseason?
-”There are simply not enough words to describe him. Whatever success he has won’t surprise me. I know him personally, I’ve been to his house several times, and I even helped him move in! That’s the impact he’s had on us. I never thought I’d be an Ole Miss fan, but now I am. Hugh always told us to be accountable and he’s going to instill that mentality in the Rebels. I don’t know how they’re going to do (this season), but they’ll do better.”
Explain to me a little about your time at Los Angeles Harbor College and how you found your way to the Arkansas State football program.
-”I told myself in high school that if I went to community college I wouldn’t play football and my mom couldn’t really believe it. Schools like Oregon State and Washington State had some interest, Idaho offered me a scholarship out of high school. I had a lot of interest but my grades messed me up and I was being a knucklehead. I told myself I was too good for community college, but the offensive coordinator saw me and offered an opportunity. He told me he could get me to Division I. Freshman year, in 2007, I went out there and was pretty mediocre. 2008 I really found myself. My son was born and I took the year off to take a job and get my self in line. In 2009 I had my best year and kind of exploded on to the scene. I had interest from Kansas State; coach Bill Snyder contacted my community college coach. Kentucky had interest in me as a JUCO, as well. There were several schools I had a chance to play for, but Arkansas State sat in my home, told me they wanted me, and gave me my letter of intent first. I’ve kept god first, kept true to my work ethic and it’s paying me dividends. Little things are what I appreciate. Talking to you, talking to scouts, I appreciate it all.”
How are you preparing for the NFL Draft? Are you working with anybody in particular?
-”This offseason my workout kind of slowed up due to my injury. Currently, I’m in Arizona at the Athletes Factory working out with a guy named Luke Neal, who’s like an uncle figure to me. His son, Davonte Neal is one of the top athletes in Arizona and (Ohio State head coach) Urban Meyer was in here trying to get this kid. ESPN is coming to do an all day special on him, so my uncle Luke has to be doing something right! I’ve been working on my heel strength and my speed. Luke’s a great trainer and he’s getting me right. Nobody has seen me run the 40 (yard dash) at full strength so I’m trying to rehab and get the chance to prove how fast I am. After evaluation Luke said in about two weeks I’ll be at or near one hundred percent.”
Have you run any 40-yard dashes recently? I’ve been intrigued as to what you can officially run for some time now.
-”I did actually. At Arkansas State I ran a 4.5. I was coming off an injury, but it was only a slight knee strain so I did it anyway. I wanted to run because everyone was and I’m a competitor. I’m aiming for something between low 4.5’s or high 4.3’s. At Harbor (Community) College I ran a 4.39 twice, but now I’m trying to get healthy so I can prove it. I ran track for a program that was rated tops in the country. I was a rather fast guy and I ran the 100-yard dash in 10.8 seconds.”
-”Play with speed and catch everything, that’s what I do.”
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Follow Dwayne on Twitter: @that_dude9