Two Blue Hawks earn All-American accolades
Dickinson State represented two of the six NSAA players named the AFCA NAIA All-American team.
Seniors Matt Dey and Tyger Frye have earned a rank among the nations best after going undefeated in the North Star conference for the seventh straight year.
Both were named All-Americans by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA). Dey was selected to the first team, while Frye was an honorable mention.
Alongside their teammate Nick Miller, Dey and Frye came from the same recruiting class and have been Blue Hawks for six years.
Both Dey and Frye were happy for the National recognition — this is the second time they have both been names All-Americans. However, they each placed the recognition from their peers and colleagues on an equally sized platform.
“Nothing feels better than when the guys you go into fall camp with, the guys that I have been around the last six years, nothing feels better when those guys (your team) blows you up for team awards,” Dey said. “Those awards mean a lot and I put that right up there with it.”
“It definitely means a tremendous amount to me,” Frye said. “It's nice to get recognition for all the hard work, focus and determination you put into one thing, but I think this year especially it's nice to see it because it lets people know you were worth their time. They invested in me to see the best I could be.”
Frye received the Offensive Player of the Year award in the NSAA and is now rounding-out his collegiate career with his second All-American selection. He is ranked 10th in the country in receptions with 70 for 899 yards and ten touchdowns.
Offensive lineman Dey has been listed on the All-American team for two consecutive seasons. Last season he was on the second team, but rose to the first team for his final year. His contribution to DSU's offense has ranked them fifth in the nation and has helped them tally 4,500 yards and 60 touchdowns.
With their final collegiate season behind them, they both are left with memories that will last a lifetime and will connect them to their warrior brothers that they took to the field over the years.
“Just the conglomerate of memories of walking into the locker room or into the training room after a game and everyone is walking sore and you hear that deep breath and we get out all those emotions,” Dey said. “Whether it is a big win Or a big loss, a close game or a blowout. The exhale and everybody kind of relaxes, music starts playing and we all start singing. Those experiences are going to be the big ones.”
“I have always been that younger guy on the team, that freshman or sophomore playing on the varsity team … It was kind of nice for me to get experience at a young age because I really did take in every second of every day because I knew at one point it would come to an end,” Frye said. “I say what sticks with me are the conversations and the relationships that were built.”
The two athletes had a list of people who they felt helped guide them to this achievement.
For Dey, his appreciation was in abundance. From the entire Dickinson State football program, including his coaches, teammates and the Touchdown Club, to the academic side, including professors, advisors, classmates and the DSU Heritage Foundation.
“I feel like being at DSU is the best decision for me,” Dey said. “From the day I walked in to the day I will leave, it has taught me how to be a man. To be responsible and to take credit for not only my success but also failures.”
Frye expressed gratitude towards the coaches he has had over the years. He gave thanks to Blue Hawks head coach Pete Stanton who he said ”Went above and beyond.” As a mentor that has offered his support to him on and off the field.
He gave thanks to his high school alma mater, Billings Senior High School and the coaches that he worked with. Chris Murdock, his football coach; Josh Beeman, his senior year head wrestling coach; Lonnie Robertson his wrestling coach from 5-years-old up to his junior year.
“I still talk to a lot of the coaches that I had there and even teachers,” Frye said. “ Maybe one day I will be lucky enough to go back there and coach and give back to that program a little bit.”
He also gave thanks to his first football coach, a man he referred to as his best friend — his father Bret Frye.
“He is probably why I am who I am. He had me sleeping with a football when I was like 2-months-old,” Frye said. “From going to AAU trips, taking me for four or five or even 10 hour drives just to wrestle and play baseball … He has been my biggest role model and who I wanted to portray and wanted to be like.”
Dey offered parting words to the younger athletes that will now carry the torch in representing the Blue Hawks in the NSAA conference. His words are as motivating as simplistic of the meaning — work hard.
“The biggest thing is that you can plateau on all your list, your speed, your skills, and still be the best team out there playing everyday,” Dey said. “But the only way to be the best team out there on the field … is not being complacent and by pushing yourself.”