Senior year is the time to make a lasting impression. For one football player, stepping on the field for his fourth season and being a team captain for the second year in a row are only a couple of ways he is leaving his mark.
Football captain Gabe Schrade, senior tight end, has a family background in the sport. Having a father from Canton, Ohio and being able to visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame growing up is what first inspired him to want to put on a helmet.
Although Schrade played baseball once, he always knew his sport was football.
“I love a couple of things about it,” Schrade said. “Number one, I was born into it. Two, I think tough guys play football, and that’s something I’ve always wanted to be a part of. I’ve got a really strong competitive spirit in me, and I only want to be the best. They say that only 3.2 percent of high school athletes get to play Division I college football, so I’m in that category and I just want to keep going up.”
Playing Division I football is exactly what Schrade has done since becoming a Bobcat. Schrade joined the team in the spring of 2014 after signing with Texas State in February of that year.
From the moment he stepped on the field, Schrade was determined to meet his collegiate football career goals.
“I took a visit out here,” Schrade said. “I fell in love with the opportunity to build my own legacy here; to be a part of the first team to win a bowl game. That’s the mission I’ve been on and that’s the mission I’m hoping to fulfill this fall.”
Schrade’s competitive nature allowed him to grow each year as a football player, but the desire to be challenged led him to one of the top positions on the team in back-to-back years.
“Being the team captain is the highest honor of my life,” Schrade said. “It’s something that will probably be the highest honor of my life, and for the rest of my life, I’m going on to do other things after football, but I’m so proud of that. It’s also an awesome opportunity to serve the guys that I love around here: my teammates.”
One quality that proves Schrade’s leadership role is his compassion for the players he stands by every day.
“Being on a football team where guys are all tough, there’s a different dynamic,” Schrade said. “When you get to develop relationships with them and see the love there and break through the shell, I think that’s so cool. Having a mindset of thinking about them first is the most important thing.”
With the football team being made up of mostly freshmen this season, being a senior on the team, Schrade knows his team captain role goes beyond the field.
“I’d like to leave an impact on the young guys,” Schrade said. “I’d like to have my example (followed) after I’ve left. I’d like to say that I have it all while I had the chance and I think that I’m in a good position to say that. The first thing I would tell the freshmen is you were brought here to play. If you’re a Division I football player, then this is what you do.”
Looking ahead to his final season, Schrade is ready for Saturday nights under the lights and the effects the games might have.
“My favorite thing about playing football at Texas State is going to be this fall because we’re going to win a bowl game,” Schrade said. “I’m really looking forward to singing the fight song after wins in the locker room. That’s one of my favorite things ever. I’m looking forward to walking around the stadium after wins and giving the fans high fives and my mom a kiss. I’m excited to put a ring on our fingers and a figurative one for the university.”
Although the new season has not begun, Schrade hopes to clear the team’s record from last year and win more games. He is, however, familiar with taking losses, but his attitude about what happens stays positive.
“I have a life principle and we have it here: it’s discipline over default,” Schrade said. “So whenever there’s an event that’s thrown at you, you have two options: you can respond with discipline which is intentional and rational. Or you can react—that’s basically the default. So whenever those things come, I try to (act) in the best way.”
Schrade learned lessons on and off the field.
“I’ve learned to appreciate winning,” Schrade said. “I’ve learned how delicate that is. I’ve also learned healthy habits you can maintain that can weather you through storms.”
Being a college athlete can be busy, and Schrade makes sure not to let his days be filled with negativity. While school and academics tend to sometimes get in the way of his vision of the future, Schrade lives by advice his father has given that has stuck with him ever since.
“Work now, play later,” Schrade said. “There are always things that you want in the immediate sense, but those things are usually fleeting and you will want them again. But there are also things that are permanent that leave legacies and matter and change people’s lives. That’s what my dad is all about, and that’s what I’m all about, and I’m striving to serve that purpose.”
Coming into his last season, Schrade will continue to lead his team and better himself. Being a leader of a team can be challenging, but that’s the challenge Schrade loves.
“I’m following other people,” Schrade said. “That’s what coach preaches; that’s what my parents have preached. My uncle told me that the cream rises to the top, and that’s something that I believe, and I’m willing to take the chance to prove them right.”