Kansas State University offensive tackle Scott Frantz, a sophomore who’s already drawing attention from the NFL, has come out as gay.
Frantz came out to his teammates on the Wildcats last year and to the public Wednesday in an interview with Holly Rowe on ESPN. “I came out to my teammates, and I’ve never felt so loved and so accepted ever in my life than when I did that,” Frantz told Rowe. “And ever since then it’s been great. I’ve grown so much closer to my teammates since. So it’s been an amazing experience.”
Frantz’s coming-out happened during a team-building exercise in which players were asked to reveal a secret about themselves they had never shared before. “So the very first time I said those words were in front of, you know, 110, 120 football guys,” he said, recalling being tearful at the time. “So you can imagine how scared I was, how nervous I was. ... This could go either really bad or could go really good. And thankfully my teammates embraced me with open arms, and it was great.”
Frantz told Rowe he knew he was gay as early as fifth grade but didn’t fully accept it until his junior year of high school. He didn’t tell his family until after he told the Kansas State team, and he didn’t share the fact with college recruiters because he was afraid it would keep him from being chosen.
Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder told Rowe the information wouldn’t have kept Frantz from being recruited. Snyder also said he wasn’t surprised that Frantz’s teammates were accepting. “I was quite comfortable that they would be very receptive and that they would treat him as they always said, as, you know, his teammate and someone that they cared about,” the coach said. “And they did.”
This fall, Frantz will be one of two openly gay players in college athletics’ Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly known as Division 1-A, which is the top level of U.S. college football. The other is My-King Johnson, an incoming freshman at the University of Arizona, who this year became the first out scholarship player. Michael Sam of the University of Missouri, another school at that level, had been out to his teammates and came out publicly in 2014, at the end of his college career, and went on to a brief stint in pro football. Chip Serafin came out in 2014 while on Arizona State’s roster but did not play in a game afterward, Outsports notes. At other levels of college football, there are at least three other out gay players who’ll be competing this fall, according to Outsports.
Frantz, who said it was important to come out publicly to help others feel accepted, is already building a stellar career at Kansas State and is an NFL draft prospect, Outsports reports. He started all 13 games for the team last year, making him the first freshman tackle to do so in at least 30 years, and he is rated the number 6 tackle in his class by NFLDraftScout.com.
Watch a clip from Frantz’s ESPN interview below.