Football, Sports, WVU Sports

Zach Frazier looks to uphold the ‘high standard’ of Steelers centers

MORGANTOWN — The Pittsburgh Steelers have a long tradition of great centers.

Looking to add to the list of greats like Mike Webster, Dermontti Dawson and Maurkice Pouncey, the Steelers selected West Virginia center Zach Frazier on Friday night in the 2024 NFL Draft.

“There’s a rich tradition of great centers here and there’s definitely a high standard for that position,” Frazier said during his introductory press conference Saturday morning. “That’s just going to make me work that much harder to uphold that standard.”

The Steelers took Frazier in the second round, 51st overall, a little bit later than his college coach Neal Brown thought he would go.

“To me, he was a first-round pick,” Brown said after WVU’s spring game Saturday afternoon. “I think he’s going to play for a really long time, but I’m not in that league and I’m biased because he was here. I do know this, he’s going to be a significant player in the NFL.”

Frazier was a four-year starter for Brown and the Mountaineers. He started nine games at left guard in 2020 as the first freshman to start on WVU’s offensive line since 1980. He then transitioned to center, where he started for the next three seasons.

The Steelers had a need at center after releasing starter Mason Cole this offseason.

Frazier made the short 90-minute trip up I-79 from his family’s home in Fairmont to the Steelers’ facility in Pittsburgh Saturday morning.

“It was unbelievable to just hop in my truck and drive up here, not have to get on a plane,’ Frazier said. “I think when it hit me was when I drove through the (Fort Pitt) tunnel and saw the city.”

After playing his college ball less than 30 minutes from his hometown, Frazier said being picked by Pittsburgh was perfect for his family.

“They were ecstatic,” he said. “We’re just an hour-and-a-half down the road so they couldn’t be more happy. It was definitely a special moment for my family.”

The Steelers showed interest in Frazier at both the Reese’s Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine, so he wasn’t too surprised when he got the call from head coach Mike Tomlin on Friday.

“I knew it was a possibility,” he said. “Of course, you don’t get to pick and you don’t know what’s going to happen, but as the picks kept getting closer to Pittsburgh, I kept getting more and more excited because I knew that was a possible spot for me. When I saw the 412 area code (caller ID), I knew right away.”

Frazier said that during his pre-draft visit with Pittsburgh, Tomlin told him to not pick up the phone unless it was the Steelers calling.

“For him to go to the Steelers, I’m so happy for him and his family,” Brown said.

Frazier has played in the the Steelers’ home stadium, Acrsirue Stadium once before, during the 2022 Backyard Brawl against Pitt. The Panthers won that game 38-31, but Fraizer and the Mountaineers got their revenge the following year with a 17-6 victory in Morgantown. The Steelers also share a practice facility with the Panther, but Frazier said that won’t be an issue for him or WVU fans.

“It’s funny, the people in West Virginia hate Pitt but they love the Steelers,” he said. “It’s the weirdest thing. It’s definitely going to be special.”