Frost thought so too.
Instead, a bizzare weight-room accident in July left Frost rehabbing an injured shoulder in what has turned into a redshirt season.
“It was a really big blow,” said Frost, who was recently cleared to return to practice. “I had a lot of high expectations for myself. I felt like the coaches did also. All the freshmen were competing to see who would make the biggest impact on the team and I was right up there in that competitive nature about myself.”
Frost, who played wide receiver and linebacker at Butler High School in Matthews, N.C., was signed as an athlete by the Tigers. He was rated either a four or five-star recruit by most recruiting services.
Auburn has him at outside linebacker as the Tigers prepare for their Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Bowl matchup with Virginia. It’s a game Frost won’t play in, but surely can practice for.
He’s been able to participate on a limited basis.
“It has been an opportunity for him to get back on the field,” said Auburn coach Gene Chizik. “Obviously, he can’t do everything. But just getting back in the flow of football and doing things he hasn’t been able to do for the last several months has been good for him. He’s one of a couple players in that boat.”
When defensive coordinator and linebackers’ coach Ted Roof left to take a similar job at Central Florida, Chizik decided to take over Roof’s duties on an interim basis for the bowl game.
That has enabled Chizik to get a first-hand look at Frost.
“He’s like any young guy who is just starting off,” Chizik said. “He shows a lot of glimmers of why we recruited him. But getting back into the groove and getting back into the swing of things is sometimes difficult, but I think he has handled the first few days really well.”
Handling the injury was much tougher.
“We were benching, doing incline bench,” Frost said. “I turned my elbow in and it popped out the back and all the weight kind of fell on me. It wasn’t the most fun experience. I was grabbing my leg and my arm at the same time. I wasn’t sure what was really hurt.”
When examined, it was determined that Frost probably suffered the initial injury during his high school career.
Either way, surgery was required to repair his shoulder, and playing this season was quickly out of the question.
“Of course, it was tough when I first got injured,” Frost said. “I didn’t expect it to be such a bad injury to the point where I had to get redshirted and sit out. But every coach moved me along and the players really helped me. My freshman class is a really good one when it comes to talent and just being supportive in terms of all the people who have been injured and redshirted. We’ve had quite a few injuries, quite a few surgeries. We all really did a good job sticking together and they really pushed me along through the season.”
In addition to rehabbing his injury, Frost says he has used the redshirt year to get bigger, stronger and faster. He came in at 6-2, 215 pounds.
“I’m between 222 and 225 right now,” he said. “I’d like to be 230, with pure muscle and speed. All I can do, really it’s just all about maintaining that speed and getting my mind right. That’s really the most important thing for me right now, is getting my mind right. Getting myself ready to play on the college level.”
Also, the coaching staff didn’t let him sit idly by during games. He was used to signal in defensive plays from the sideline.
“That helped a whole lot,” he said. “For one thing, getting to know the plays and the play calls and terminology of things really is half the battle as it is. The mental stuff on the field will come due to repetition and everything. That really helped me a whole lot. Each outside linebacker, how they reacted to each play and fits and everything. Doing those hand signals on the field really got me thinking quicker on a college level instead of trying to evolve from high school.”