ASU football gives long snapper Mitchell Fraboni the respect he deserves

The Sun Devils' success on special teams starts with the senior's ability to execute

ASU football has started the regular season 1-2 for the first time since 1999, and many players are getting attention for their on-field performance, good and bad. 

But in the eyes of junior punter Michael Sleep-Dalton and the rest of the special teams unit, senior long snapper Mitchell Fraboni has immense value. 

"He is amazing at what he does," Sleep-Dalton said. "Him and I have a real good relationship, we go out and play golf on our off days. I think that is really good that we do have that relationship, because I have no hesitation that the ball is going to hit right where I need it." 

Frabroni may not appear on your television screen every Saturday, but he has an important role. 

Whether the Phoenix native is setting up a punt or a field goal opportunity, ASU associate head coach, special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach Shawn Slocum said Fraboni's role is critical.

"When you're punting the ball, you're giving up possession so you want to maximize that," Slocum said. "So that job is very important, and when your kicking field goals and extra points, that is a direct scoring opportunity. The first part of that play is him delivering the ball in (a) good spot." 

At the end of the day, Fraboni said he knows what his role is, and a supposed lack of publicity does not faze him. 

"It is an important role that most people don't really know," Fraboni said. "But I take my role as, I have to do my job in order for the holder and kicker to do their job, our punter to do his job."

Fabroni said communication is key to success on special teams.

"I always work with Sleep (Sleep-Dalton) because he always does a great job of communicating. We just all have to stay on the same page, so I can do my best and they can do their best." 

At the end of fall camp in 2015, Fraboni, along with current senior running back Jacob Brimhall, earned a scholarship as a walk-on. A graduate of Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix, Fabroni earned the starting long snapper role midway through his freshman season and has yet to give it up.

In addition to his role of snapping the ball for the punter and kicker, Fraboni quickly became a valuable part of the Sun Devils special teams coverage unit. As a sophomore in 2015, he tied for the team lead in special teams tackles with five. 

Then, in 2016, Fraboni bounced back from injuries, played in the final eight games of the season and became known as one of the more accurate players at his position in the Pac-12. 

After a great season, Fraboni was nominated for the 2016 Burlsworth Trophy, which is an annual award given to college football's best walk-on. 

It was Fraboni who snapped the ball to alum kicker Zane Gonzalez, who wrapped up a historic four-year career at ASU last season and is currently a member of the Cleveland Browns. 

Three weeks into the new season, ASU's special teams have struggled, but Fraboni has already contributed one tackle, and Slocum said his players have all the confidence in their senior leader. 

"They appreciate Mitch (Fraboni) because of his background, what he has done," Slocum said. "He has been productive as a coverage guy and he is a good teammate and good locker room guy." 

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