Austin LBJ Early College senior cornerback and Rice commit Sean Fresch prides himself on shutting down wide receivers, a responsibility he has held for two years.
The 5-foot-8-and-a-half-inch, 160-pound Fresch enjoys suiting up in the purple and white, marveling at the Jaguars’ growth and success. Head coach Jahmal Fenner praised Fresch for “being one of the top guys” on a unit he considers the heart of the program.
“Defensively, we take pride in stopping people,” Fenner told Texas Scorecard. “And he’s one of those guys who’s out there defending. People are scared to go his way. He’s made a name for himself as a top cover guy.”
Fresch made a huge impact in his first season in 2018. He made 43 tackles with four interceptions and six pass breakups for which he earned 5A-1 Region III District 12 Defensive MVP, as well as landed on the 2019 Austin American-Stateman All-Centex preseason team.
“He’s proven himself,” Fenner said. “Every time he’s out there and we put him on an island and let him cover man to man, we’re fully confident that he’s going to lock his guy down and make plays.”
The defensive back, who runs a 4.40 in the 40-yard dash, attributes his prowess to simply practicing hard every day.
“I work on my technique and I work on my hand placement so when I go into the game, I’m fully prepared to be on an island or one on one and lockdown,” Fresch said.
Fresch lines up against his offensive counterpart with no fear since his confidence level is sky high.
“I have all the confidence in the world that I can lock anybody up,” he said. “So when I go out there on the field, I keep that chip on my shoulder and I just play. I don’t let the crowd get to me.”
LBJ is currently enjoying a bye week after its 56-0 victory over district foe Austin McCallum on Sept. 19. The Jaguars, 3-1 overall as of press time, were treated to a two-touchdown performance from Fresch – one a catch and the other a punt return – in addition to his usual defensive excellence that evening.
“Whatever I can do to help the team, that’s what I’ll do,” Fresch said.
He commended his teammates for putting up a hard fight and not giving up in the 2019 opener against Elgin at home, and the following road game against Los Fresnos more than 300 miles away to the south. LBJ won both contests.
Fenner said that Fresch has made big plays “with limited touches” since the start of the season.
“My goal is to try to manage how I use him so he can stay fresh, being that he’s the number one corner and he’s also the number one playmaker on the offensive side of the ball,” the coach said. “In each game, he’s had big plays. When he touches the ball, he’s able to go to the house. Every game, he’s made a huge impact for us this season. When the ball gets in his hands, he’s scoring touchdowns. Defensively, he’s holding it down on the edge as well, covering the best guys on each team.”
According to Fresch, the connection between him and his teammates is strong and continues to build.
“It’s a strong relationship,” he said. “We’ve got that connection on the field and in practice. Coach preaches to us about working hard and how success comes from it.”
Fresch added that doing the little and extra things in order to be successful, in addition to hard work, is what he learned from Fenner.
“If you practice hard and you play hard, you’re going to get everything out of it,” he said.
Both coach and player are determined to win district and go far in the playoffs.
“I think that we have the pieces to get it done,” Fenner said.
Fresch, a track star who placed seventh in the long jump at state last spring, said that he and his family decided on Rice. While Army received much consideration, Rice’s proximity, reputation as an illustrious school, and up-and-coming football program won Fresch over.
“Choosing between Army and Rice wasn’t easy, but my family and I spoke about it and think Rice is the best for me,” he said.
Fenner called Fresch’s commitment to the Owls “a great decision.” The coach competed against Rice as a defensive back for UTEP from 2001 to 2004.
“With him and any of the other boys on the team, I’ll always support the decisions that they and their families make,” he said. “I think it’s an excellent choice for Sean. I know Sean can play at that level. I know he’s going to have a lot of success not only just athletically, but he’s going to get the education he deserves to get. It’s about setting yourself up to get a quality education. Whenever the game is over and you’re done playing, you have something to carry on.”
When it comes to a major, Fresch said his “Plan A” is mechanical engineering while his “Plan B” is business.
He wants to leave behind a legacy at LBJ in which future athletes understand that having heart is more important than possessing physical tools.
“Just play your heart out,” Fresch said.