Home New Virginia quarterback Gavin Frakes: ‘Trying to contribute as best as I can’

New Virginia quarterback Gavin Frakes: ‘Trying to contribute as best as I can’

Chris Graham
uva gavin frakes
Photo: UVA Athletics

You have to wonder why a kid like Gavin Frakes, the 6’4”, 220-pound quarterback who started five games as a freshman at New Mexico State in 2022, would want to transfer to a place like Virginia, which already has two established QBs.

I mean, from Virginia’s perspective, it was a priority for coach Tony Elliott, just because he didn’t have anybody of consequence behind those two established QBs – Tony Muskett, a grad senior, and Anthony Colandrea, a rising sophomore.

And as we saw last season, when Muskett went down, two different times, to injury, you don’t want to go into a game with just one healthy QB, and a bunch of guys holding clipboards.

It changes your game planning, and offensive coordinator Des Kitchings’ scheme relies on QB draws and read-options that don’t work if the defense knows that the quarterback is going to hand the ball off every time.

So, getting a guy with starts at the FBS level, great.

What’s in it for Gavin Frakes, though?

“I would say, great academics, great coaches. I mean, I just feel like I keep harping on that. But just, great people, you know what I mean?” Frakes said last week, as he opened his first spring practice with Virginia.

Frakes is a late bloomer. He only became the starting QB at his high school, Norman North in Norman, Okla., as a senior, but he put up nice numbers in that 2021 season, passing for 2,207 yards and 24 touchdowns, and adding 785 yards and eight TDs on the ground.

Because of being a late bloomer, Frakes didn’t get a lot of run from college coaches, and only had firm offers that fall from Houston Baptist, Penn, Princeton and Yale, committing to Princeton, before getting late looks from FBS schools and ending up taking the offer from New Mexico State.

From getting a late offer, Frakes would end up being pressed into action as a starter as a true freshman in 2022, getting five starts, the most noteworthy of those being the 21-9 win over rival New Mexico, in which he passed for 119 yards and two TDs.

Frakes redshirted in 2023 after junior Diego Pavia won the QB1 job, and went on to a solid season – 2,973 passing yards, 26 TDs, nine INTS, as New Mexico State went on to a 10-5 season.

After New Mexico State coach Jerry Kill decided to step down following a successful two-year run back on Dec. 23, Frakes decided to hit the transfer portal, and reports had him setting his sights on Virginia early on.

Frakes joins a QB room with Muskett, the Game 1 starter, who put up nice numbers 1,031 yards, 6 TDs, 5 INTs, 63.3% completion rate, 128.8 QB rating) in action limited by injuries that nagged him all season long, and Colandrea, who started six games, played the bulk of a seventh, and led the team in passing (1,958 yards, 12 TDs, 9 INTs, 62.6% completion rate, 139.6 QB rating).

The issue for Elliott was lack of depth behind those two, with the third-string guy in 2023 being a walk-on, Grady Brosterhous, who was used primarily in short-yardage situations this past season.

Frakes fills an important need for Elliott, and comes in with no pressure on his shoulders in 2024. He slots in as the third QB, but with Muskett in his last season at the college level, you’d like to see Frakes work himself this year into position to be able to challenge Colandrea next year for the QB1 job in 2025.

“I’m trying to contribute as best as I can to the quarterback room,” Frakes said. “All the quarterbacks are great, great people, great quarterbacks, all talented. We love spending time with each other. So, I would just say, contributing however I can to just level up the room as a whole.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].