St. Ambrose tight end Andrew Friederich is on the roster for one reason: He earned it.
After taking a year off after his senior season at Davenport Assumption, where he played offensive guard and linebacker, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound sophomore enrolled at St. Ambrose. He went to Bees coach Mike Magistrelli and asked if he could play tight end, only to find there was no such position in Magistrelli’s offense.
Friederich was offered a chance to play on the freshman team as a member of the special teams. It was there that he first caught the eye of the coaches.
“He was a scout-team player,” Magistrelli said. “I remember vividly, we were working our punt team and we couldn’t block him on our punt rush look. He was constantly all over our punter. So, our first thought was we’ve got to use him on our punt rush team. From there, we moved him to the varsity that weekend, and he’s just gotten better and better.”
This offseason, the Bees tweaked their offense, going to a pistol formation, complete with a tight end. Friederich and Bettendorf grad Mitch Overstreet moved to the top of the depth chart. Overstreet broke his hand two weeks ago and is out for the season, solidifying Friederich as the No. 1 tight end.
“At the end of the day you know you went up against Andrew Friederich all day,” Magistrelli said. “He’s a scrapper.”
Friederich has worked on his pass-catching abilities, and it’s paid off. He is second on the team in receptions behind receiver Barney O’Donnell, who is out for the season with an injury.
Before this season, Friederich had zero catches. Saturday against Olivet Nazarene, he caught the Bees’ opening touchdown and the two-point conversion on the final score. He also had the first TD the week before against Iowa Wesleyan. He looks to add to that total Saturday, when the Bees (6-1) host Waldorf.
Before this season, the last time he had caught a touchdown pass was as a sophomore at Assumption.
“They would occasionally split me out as a wide receiver, big No. 70,” Friederich recalled with a grin. “They would just throw me lob passes, and I would try to go up and get one. I got one against PV, mind you they also had a pass interference call on that play and I still got the touchdown.”
The fact that Friederich’s work ethic has gotten him in this position is a point not lost on the tall redhead.
“My philosophy is you control what you can control,” Friederich said. “I can always control my effort, I can always do the little things. I can always go hard and the bigger stuff, the catches and the touchdowns will come off of that.”