Fred Farrier will be on both Protective Stadium sidelines in Thursday's season opener between UAB and Alabama A&M.
Fred T. Farrier is the Alabama A&M running back coach and recruiting coordinator. Fred Farrier II is a redshirt freshman wide receiver at UAB.
It's father vs. son. Or, Farrier suggests, maybe it's not.
"It's cool, for sure," Farrier II said. "I know something like this will never happen again. Me and my family talked about it. I talked to my mom last night for about an hour. I'm not even thinking about that. I'm not thinking about my dad. I'm thinking about the man in front of me. This whole week leading up to the game, I'm not even thinking about my dad. I'm thinking about Alabama A&M."
Largely because of his father's profession, Farrier II can't remember a time when football wasn't in his life. The elder Farrier, a former wide receiver himself at the College of Holy Cross, began his college career as a graduate assistant under Nick Saban's Michigan State staff. As is the norm in college coaching, he had a series of coaching stops, including assistant jobs at South Carolina State, Morgan State, Kentucky State and Tennessee Tech. He was the head coach at Morgan State in 2016 and 2017.
"I'm from Kentucky, and the reason is because he coached at Kentucky State," Farrier II said. "I grew up on a campus. I grew up watching receivers – shout out to [Kentucky State's] Juwan Jones. He's the reason I want to be a receiver. I grew up in it. My dad taught me a lot, for sure. Individual coaching, not as much, because I listen to everybody. I take advice from everybody. He did help me a little bit, but really it was just growing up in a football environment."
Farrier II was an All-State wide receiver at Franklin County High in Kentucky. He helped his team win a region title for the first time since 1979 and advance to the state title game against unbeaten Boyle County. Franklin County lost, 31-28, in overtime in the championship game. Farrier II finished the season with 58 catches for 1,010 yards and 14 touchdowns and was selected by the Greater Louisville Football Coaches Association as the Player of the Year.
Because of Covid-19 restrictions, he couldn't visit campuses during his recruitment. It helped, though, that he knew what to expect in recruiting after years of watching his father on the other side.
"Seeing the person make the calls, I could see how it works," Farrier II said. "I could tell when coaches were putting on a show and when they were being genuine; the whole team. I got to see the whole thing from my dad."
UAB wide receiver coach Larry Smith said it showed.
"I knew that when I recruited Fred," Smith said. "The conversations were different. He was asking the right questions during the recruiting process."
Farrier chose UAB over Air Force, Ohio, San Diego State and Toledo. He came in during the summer of 2021 and began learning from fellow slot receivers Ryan Davis and Samario Rudolph. He showed quickly that he had a chance to contribute.
"Fred is going to be special," Smith said. "It helps with him, his dad being a collegiate football coach. He came in a little more mature than a typical freshman. Fred could have played for us last year as a true freshman. [We] didn't want to waste a year on him. He had a great off-season. I'm excited about Fred. He made a lot of plays for us this fall. He catches the ball really well. He's just now scratching the surface. He's got a bright future."
UAB head coach Bryant Vincent said Farrier II could potentially be the best receiver in program history. And the program's history includes former NFL standout Roddy White. For now, Farrier II is sharing the slot receiver rotation with Rudolph, Davis and Iverson Hooks. But he also has the ability to line up outside if needed. He played outside during high school and lined up out there in the spring because of numbers. He said he showed the coaches he could do both.
"I just want to be wherever they need me on the field," Farrier II said. "I think it's a big difference. Inside, there are a whole bunch of moving parts. You have to read the safety [and] linebackers. Outside, you have that a little bit, but really you just have to beat the man in front of you. It's film study and practice over and over again."
For now, though, his concentration is starting the season 1-0 and being the first Fred Farrier to win a college football game in 2022.
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