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Olivehurst's Frey thankful for opportunity after being drafted by Bears
The stress was too much for Isaiah Frey — he couldn't watch the TV, or even check the web.
The concept of someone else deciding his future was almost foreign to the 22-year-old Olivehurst native. It wasn't the way his father, Demetryst, or mother, Tiffany, raised him. And it wasn't the way he went about trailing great prep and college football careers.
After dedicating 15 years to the sport, it all came down to this — the 2012 NFL Draft.
He didn't want it to end, but nothing was for certain.
Representatives of NFL teams said things here and there about being picked. He visited the New England Patriots and San Diego Chargers, and he worked out for the Detroit Lions within the past few weeks, but nothing was for certain.
"There were a lot of teams telling me they were going to pick me," he said. "I was just hoping that I was going to get picked up."
By Saturday evening, it all became certain.
After watching Day 1 and 2 selections, the nerves kicked in.
By the time the final Day 3 of picks rolled around, Frey wasn't one of the hundreds of prospects at home watching TV with their family — he took a different approach.
"I had to get my mind off it; I was so stressed out," Frey said.
So he did what many Yuba-Sutter residents do on a Saturday afternoon to blow off some steam — he went golfing with his family at Mallard Lake.
But the butterflies continued; he stopped playing for a bit to relax. Then it happened.
"A woman called me and asked if I was Isaiah Frey," he said. "She asked me to hold on the line for a little bit. So I waited a few minutes. Then she said, 'Welcome to Chicago.'"
A brief conversation with Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith and team General Manager Phil Emery followed.
"Lovie just said he was excited to have me, and I told him that I was thankful for the opportunity," Frey said. "It was surreal. I started hugging my family, and it got pretty emotional."
Frey was selected with the 184th pick in the sixth round by the Bears, and it was almost as if his father knew all along.
Frey was raised with two dogs, "Bear" and "Payton," named after Chicago Bears great Walter Payton.
"My dad is Bears fan. We have a Chicago Bears helmet in the house," Frey chuckled. "It's crazy how God works."
Needless to say, Frey is a believer in the Bears now, too.
But he said nothing would have come to fruition if it weren't for his family.
"My parents basically pushed me growing up to not accept being average at anything I do," he said. "It was all about being the best at whatever I do and to live your life doing that."
Frey had an unusual path to stardom — high school was an hour drive.
After years with the Marysville Chiefs youth football team, his father had other plans for him other than to attend Lindhurst High.
"His whole thing was that he wanted me to go somewhere else," Frey said. "He wanted me to establish myself as a man on my own."
Frey hated the idea of leaving his friends, but would eventually make the decision to attend Jesuit High in Carmichael.
He scored 16 touchdowns during his senior season and it earned him a scholarship to play at the University of Nevada.
And it was another great senior season there that got the attention of NFL scouts.
He finished his career at Nevada with 141 tackles and seven interceptions, but during his senior year, he finished with five interceptions and a nation-leading 21 pass breakups. He was also named first-team all-Western Athletic Conference.
Frey will again head into uncharted territory, not knowing a soul, just like his first day of high school.
He will report to mini-camp on May 10 at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill.
However, around an hour away, just like high school, Frey will have family.
"It's kind of funny, because my dad's side of the family is up there," he said. "I'm just so blessed."