For three years, C.J. Frazier was Bluffton football.
The decorated quarterback guided his team to three appearances in the semifinals and a berth in the 2011 state championship. He threw for nearly 8,000 yards and more than 100 touchdown passes and left Bluffton as one of the Lowcountrys most prolific and successful signal-callers.
He was the embodiment of coach Ken Cribbs Bobcats.
"It hurts," Frazier said after his final high school game, a loss to Northwestern in the state semis last November. "This is all I ever really knew."
That pain has long since subsided, he said Tuesday. The quarterback took on a new chapter in his football career over the weekend, committing to Newberry College and coach Todd Knight over Averett (Va.) University.
I really think Ive moved on, he said. Im excited that Im going to get to play with another team. I really do feel like Im a Wolf now. Its exciting to do and it gives me new motivation.
Frazier has never been short on motivation. His height has always been the subject of criticism from those outside the Bluffton High program, and its something hes sought to overcome in the eyes of scouts.
It was never an issue Newberry coaches brought up with the senior, however. Nevertheless, he remains anxious to prove his doubters wrong for another four years.
I dont think they were really worried about it, he said. They watched my film and decided I was one of the players they wanted. Its really exciting to me that I get to go and show my talents. When (people) think Im too short, it bothers me a little.
His new coaching staff certainly has the confidence in him judging by this years recruiting class. The Bluffton standout is the only quarterback the Wolves are bringing on, he said, and coaches have told him he has an opportunity to compete for the starting job in their spread offense.
To do that, he will have to beat out rising junior W.T. Murden who threw for 2,334 yards and 20 touchdowns last year while leading Newberry to a 5-6 record in the South Atlantic Conference and redshirt sophomore Dave Nidiffer.
They said I can come in and try to compete for the starting job, Frazier said. And if I cant, I can redshirt and hopefully build for the future.
He will join a team with plenty of friendly faces already on the roster. Former Bobcat Taylor McDonnell, a redshirt sophomore, is still on the team as is former Beaufort High kicker Kyle Clark.
They join a host of other players Frazier is familiar with. Their presence was part of the reason he pulled the trigger on a commitment, he said.
It was surprising how many South Carolina kids are there, Frazier said. Playing football and starting for three years, Ive been to a lot of camps and played in all-star games. Ive been playing with a lot of these guys my whole life. Theyre going to the same school as me, so it makes me feel real comfortable.
Frazier can only hope his time with the Wolves rivals the success he experienced in Bluffton. He finished with a 34-5 record as a starter, two Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette offensive player of the year awards and a pair of seasons with 3,000-plus passing yards. He also landed a spot as the starting quarterback in this seasons North-South All-Star Game, where he helped lead the South to a 23-0 victory.
His final campaign with the Bobcats ended with 3,080 yards and 38 touchdowns and followed a junior season that saw him throw for 3,577 yards and 56 touchdowns en route to the Class 3-A title game.
I just want to be basically the same way (I was) in Bluffton, Frazier said. That I won a lot of games as a starting quarterback and I was a good person in the community. Thats whats going to be the most important to me.