From the Frisco Football League to OSU: Q&A with Gabriel Lemons
If you drive through Frisco, TX on a Saturday from August through November, you’ll find countless football fields covered with cheering fans and future football stars. The Frisco Football League is the starting point for many great football players that come out of North Texas. It’s during these years that several young boys fall in love with the game, and begin dreaming of playing college football one day. One of those dreams that has become a reality is that of Gabriel Lemons. Gabriel started playing in the FFL at the age of 7, and recently committed as a junior to play D1 football at Oklahoma State University in the fall of 2018. He has received multiple “Player of the Game” awards as well as being named a “Texas High School Player of the Week” last fall. Like many young athletes, he grew up playing multiple sports - not only football, but basketball, as well as running track. With still one more year of high school remaining, he has already left his mark in the record books of Fowler Middle School, and now Coppell High School for track.
Not only has Gabriel left his mark in the record books, he also continues to impact those he meets off the field. At the conclusion of our photo shoot with him, he took the time to run routes for a current 10U FFL player. Gabriel, though rushing to another photo shoot for recent college commits, took the time to hang out with a 10-year-old quarter back who shares similar dreams. His passion for the game of football is evident whether running a slant for a 10-year-old or drills at a college camp. We enjoyed getting to know Gabriel Lemons, and had the chance to get in some Q&A time with him.
Q: What was it like growing up playing youth football in the Frisco Football League?
A: I really enjoyed playing football in the FFL. I got to know many other kids on different teams. It was nice creating those friendships that I could see all over Frisco. It created a really fun competition in the games, and I enjoyed competing against my friends.
Q: What FFL team were you on, and who was your greatest rival? A: I started on the Bruins for one year and then transitioned to the Panthers. Our greatest rival was the Red Raiders.
Q: What’s your greatest football memory so far? A: I have several wonderful memories. In the FFL, my greatest memory was playing against the Dolphins because of all of my friends on that team. I would always look forward to those games. My neighbor was actually on that team. In middle school, my greatest memory was winning my first middle school game against Clark in eighth grade. In high school, the best memory I have is playing with the seniors who just graduated and learning from them. They have set such a great example, and I’m glad to be able to call them my brothers.
Q: What sacrifices have you made along the way to committing to play D1 football? A: One of the major sacrifices I had to make was to quit playing basketball. I had actually started playing basketball at 5 and football at age 7, but I knew as I was growing up that I wanted to focus on football. It was a hard decision that took a lot of time and thought, but looking back on it today I know it was the right choice. There were times I’ve had to choose not to go out and do things with friends because I knew I needed to put in work for the game or an upcoming event.
Q: What do you think has been the key to your success as a football player? A: I believe the key is something that my dad taught me, which is to “always stay humble and always stay hungry for more.”
Q: Why did you choose OSU? A: I chose OSU for several reasons. One of the major reasons that stuck out to me is because the coaches said they care more about the person than the player. I fell in love with the campus and the facilities the minute I got there. It’s an awesome place to be with a great atmosphere. My position coach, Tim Duffy, actually played with my dad at Texas Tech in college. That was a nice touch. The head coach, Mike Gandy, is very personable and a man of his word. There are many reasons to like OSU.
Q: What advice would you give to young players today that have goals to someday play college football like you will be doing at OSU? A: No matter what anyone says, I would encourage them to keep believing in their dreams. You are the only person that can decide what you can or cannot do. If you want to play college football, you will need to put in the work and go make it happen. Remember to stay humble, never be satisfied with where you are, and always strive to achieve more.
Q: What do you do to get pumped up for a game? A: I like to listen to music to drown everything else out. I get focused by thinking about all the opposition that I had to overcome, and use that as fuel to go out there and continue playing the best that I can.
Q: What’s your favorite food to eat on game day? A: I don’t eat much on game day. I don’t like to have a full stomach before I play but I do like pasta.
Q: What’s your favorite splurge when it’s an off day? A: I could eat an entire pizza and huge snow cone. I also love some Whataburger. I practically live there.
Q: Who is your favorite professional football team? A: My favorite team is the Dolphins.
Q: Who’s your favorite football player? A: My favorite player is Jay Ajayi. I’ve known him since he was my age. My dad coached him in high school and I was a ball boy on the sidelines. He really helped encourage me to go for my dreams.