By Emily Orthwein
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
It is not every day that an athlete makes it onto the CBSsports.com senior writer, Bruce Feldman's Freak List. One of TCU's top offensive linemen, Blaize Foltz, ranked ninth on that very list as one of the top 10 "craziest athletes in college football." The 6-foot-4, 310-pound graduate student benches 580 pounds, squats 800, incline benches 530 and has cleaned 430.
"It was a big honor getting on the list," said Foltz. "It's pretty cool to be recognized for your hard work in the weight room. I didn't know that this kind of strength was any different than normal."
Foltz, as a player, likes the challenge of improving his strength, his technique as an offensive guard and his overall approach to the game. Some of his teammates also use his strength as their own motivational tool by challenging him and seeing where they stand.
During the season, Foltz's coaches are careful not to overload him, so the real tests are in the off-season. He enjoys trying different things in the weight room to further his already outrageous ability.
Being a senior on the team, Foltz has seen many changes at TCU, like playing in a new stadium, joining the Big 12 Conference, seeing new buildings pop up around campus and going from an undergraduate to a graduate student. Having this experience and knowledge, on the field and off, can only make Foltz a stronger leader on the offensive line.
"Playing in a new conference, we've had to definitely heighten our attention to detail because the skill level is a lot better," said Foltz. "Week in and week out, the teams we play are really good."
Having this knowledge as a senior can help the team as a whole, specifically his little brother, Brady, a redshirt freshman for the Horned Frogs this season.
"I love having him on the team with me," said Blaize Foltz. "It's a big deal for our family more than anything to have both of us here. I try to help him out whenever I can, but also try to keep the 'telling him what to do' part to a minimum."
With or without Foltz's brother on the field with him, TCU's offensive line is known to have a stronger bond than any position on the field. Going to O-line weekly dinners before games and practicing with his fellow offensive linemen everyday are just a few tangible examples of the bonds in this position.
"We all have the same personalities and the fact that the older players aren't afraid to help out the younger ones, really holds together that respectful camaraderie between us," said Foltz. "You'll never find another place or another situation where this many people are a part of the same goal and I think it's special, especially being on the offensive line."
While Foltz's demeanor on the field is intimidating and aggressive, his persona off the field is much more relaxed and fun.
"I'm quirkier, more laid back and sarcastic off the field, but on the field I am serious," said Foltz. "It's good to lighten the mood sometimes."
For how strong he is now, one would not be able to tell that he had a season ending knee injury back in 2010. A big part of his mental and physical healing process came from having a strong faith and supportive family.
"When it first happened you want to give up because you feel like the world just ended," said Foltz. "But at the same time you get the opportunity to get stronger mentally as a person, and I came back stronger than I ever was."
There are advantages for Foltz playing for TCU during its inaugural season in the Big 12 Conference. Being a native from Rose Hill, Kansas, Foltz had the support of nearly 200 of his friends and family at TCU's first Big 12 game at Kansas.
As far as Foltz's future, the work ethic and sheer strength are there; it is just a matter of the opportunity presenting itself. Marcus Cannon, a former TCU offensive lineman who also made it on to the "freak list," was drafted by the New England Patriots in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. So the option for Foltz to go the professional route is a definite possibility.
Foltz already attained his degree from TCU, whose football program was one of just four to finish in the top 25 in the final 2010 polls and in the Academic Progress Rate. With this, and his incredible ability as a player and love for the game, Foltz has many viable options after his final season as a Horned Frog.
"I want to give my shot in the NFL and see how that goes," said Foltz. "But if not, then I will probably go work for an engineering company in California, or train the future athletes of our next generation like my Dad had done for me."
Whether we see him playing professionally or training the new generation of athletes to come, Foltz has a bright future ahead of him.