Frank Trotter: From Iowa to Portland
Frank Trotter is an excellent example of the level of talent in the Arena Football League – at the University of Memphis, Trotter replaced Clinton McDaniel, who went on to win a Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks. Trotter then earned the Tigers’ defensive lineman of the year award in 2010 while lined up next to eventual first-round draft pick and NFL Pro Bowler Dontari Poe.
Trotter followed up his 2010 season by leading the Tigers’ defensive line with 61 stops, 13 tackles for a loss, five sacks, three pass break-ups, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in 2011.
On draft day, however, he saw Poe, his best friend, drafted No. 11 overall, while he went undrafted and signed as an undrafted free agent with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Trotter, however, was happy for the opportunity to be on an NFL team.
“It was a very emotional weekend. I was excited for both of us – I was excited to see him be successful because I know how hard we worked together,” said Trotter. “We worked so hard and we finally got what we wanted, and our dreams were finally coming true.”
After some work with the Jaguars and Philadelphia Eagles, however, he felt like he wasn’t getting the opportunities in the NFL or CFL that he was hoping for. He still wanted to play, though. That’s when he got in contact with Coach Mike Hohensee and signed on to play with the Iowa Barnstormers.
Trotter had a solid first season in the AFL, where he contributed everywhere on the field. He picked up 28.5 tackles, 3.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries, an interception, and broke up nine passes. When the Barnstormers left the league and went to the IFL, however, Trotter was back to looking for a position.
Coach Hohensee, now the Portland Thunder’s head coach, made Trotter his No. 1 priority to bring with him from Iowa.
“He was a great teammate,” said Hohensee. “He was a playmaker – he had a knack for deflecting passes, which he’s been doing here as well. I think he was also underrated as a sack guy. We really liked his professional makeup, how he attacked the game and prepared himself. There was no nonsense about him and that’s what we want to build this team around. There were no risks involved with him; he was going to come in here and do things the right way.”
Trotter’s versatility is likely to be important this season, as Hohensee wants to see him at nose tackle, defensive end, linebacker – he might even have to see time as an offensive lineman if the situation dictates.
Trotter sees versatility as a theme throughout this year’s Thunder squad.
“It’s absolutely a great defense. We have playmakers at all positions on the defense,” said Trotter. “And everyone’s versatile – they can play two, three positions. I’m excited to be a part of this team. I know we’re going to have a big, physical year, and I’m just ready to get the season rolling.”