CHAMPAIGN — Jordan Frazier grew up in Springfield, Mo.
Has lived his whole life in the western part of the Show-Me State.
The connection he made with Tim Beckman’s football staff and other recruits in the Class of 2014, though, brought an oral commitment from the tight end to Illinois more than three months ago. Despite the seven-hour drive from his hometown to Champaign-Urbana.
But with his father, Scott, getting a new job that would require the family to relocate to Dallas, Frazier started second-guessing.
Frazier said he mulled his decision for a few weeks after learning his family would move before decommitting from Illinois on Friday morning and accepting a scholarship offer from Oklahoma State later in the day. The Cowboys and Mike Gundy reached out a few weeks ago, Frazier said.
“I really do have the greatest amount of respect for the coaching staff at Illinois, and I love Illinois,” Frazier said. “With my family moving, that’s about a 14-hour drive from Dallas to Champaign. I’m a family guy, and that’s been really tough on me. From Oklahoma State to Dallas, that’s about three-and-a-half hours. It was just more of a family decision.”
Frazier was among the nine players Beckman announced in mid-December who would enroll early in order to take part in spring practices. Frazier did not sign a national letter of intent in December, UI sports information director Kent Brown said, but did sign a Big Ten financial aid tender, which is non-binding.
“If there was a change and he went to another Big Ten school, there was a lot of stuff that could transpire and possibly a penalty,” Brown said.
But since Frazier picked the Cowboys in the Big 12 — where he plans to enroll early and play tight end — no such ramification will take place.
The 6-foot-5, 240-pounder was the only tight end commit in the Class of 2014, which is expected to be finalized on the Feb. 5 Signing Day. With his departure, the Illinois recruiting class now stands at 17 prospects.
Frazier said he informed the Illinois coaching staff of his decision before he publicly announced the change.
“I made sure just to let them know,” Frazier said. “This decision was not made because of anything they did, so they didn’t do anything wrong.”
Classes start next week at Illinois for the spring semester, another factor that weighed heavily on Frazier’s mind while he contemplated switching schools.
“It was really tough,” he said. “It’s one thing to just have to stress about making that transition, but then it’s another thing to have to decide immediately if you want to stay close to home and your family. I was probably 75 percent of the way ready to go to Illinois.”