Making memories in Frisco at the FCS National Championship

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FRISCO, Texas (Valley News Live) -- The trip to Frisco, Texas has become a routine for so many in Bison Nation.

But there was always the first trip.

It's an experience some players are going through now while for others it's a distant, but fond, memory.

"I remember trying to sneak into the locker room and hear the pregame speech because being a redshirt guy we were out on the sidelines," senior wide receiver Darrius Shepherd recalls of the game played in 2015. "But, it was really fun. We did a lot of cool things, saw a lot of fun things. I think the Bar-B-Que Bowl was probably my most exciting memory."

Shepherd did make it into the locker room ahead of the win over Illinois State.
"I was like 'Dang I want to be a part of this.' So it was cool to just experience that as a redshirt," Shepherd said.

Senior safety Rob Gimsley didn't get the redshirt experience his freshman year. He was a contributing member in the 2016 win over Jacksonville State.

"The older you get I think you try to focus on football and the more you try to focus on the game. So as freshman, and obviously when I was a freshman I had to play so I had to do some of that, but I know talking to the other guys, they had a blast just doing whatever they wanted because they had a lot more free time than I did," Grimsley said. "I think that's kind of important for these freshman to just take in and know that this isn't guaranteed for the rest of your career. I know that we've been pretty lucky, but it's not guaranteed. You're only guaranteed this one chance so just take in what you can and just have fun."

Freshman Phoenix Sproles is experiencing Frisco for the first time foregoing a redshirt season. He's jumped right into the deep end.

"When we landed yesterday it didn't sink in. But when we started doing meetings and walk-thru it's like, OK it's time to go," Sproles said. "So I've just got to stay under control and lay low, just take this as another game to me and then do my thing."

Sproles said he watched last year's game on TV and that he and quarterback Trey Lance would talk about when it would be their time in Frisco.

"We told each other we came here to win national championships. So being here is just a testament of our decision of committing to the Bison. It's cool to see how we envisioned it and now it's here."

While the future stars take in this first of, hopefully, many trips to Frisco, the current stars just hope to remember to remember it.

"I think on the airplane on the way here I tried to tell myself that this is the last one so enjoy it and make it really special. So I'm trying to spend time with guys and get to see everything and it's been really cool," Shepherd said.

"Obviously we still have a strict schedule and we're pretty tight on what we do. But you try to do what you can when you have free time," Grimsley adds. "Obviously just being down here is special. Not many people, outside of our team, have been down here three times. So I think it's pretty awesome that I get another opportunity to be down here and just trying to do what I can to take it in."