Frankie Grizzle-Malgrat: Everything You Need to Know About FSU's 'Red Lightning'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 6, 2014

Dec 7, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Florida State Seminoles ball boy Frankie Grizzle-Malgrat chases a ball prior to the start of the game against the Duke Blue Devils at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe you thought the secret to Florida State's success this season was Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. Or a defense that allowed just 10.7 points per game, tops in the nation. Or, you know, a fairly easy schedule.


The secret to Florida State's success this year is the team's equipment manager and ball boy on game days, Frankie Grizzle-Malgrat—or, as he's affectionately called, "Red Lightning."

Just look at this man at work. An inspiration to us all.

OK, OK, so Red Lightning doesn't actually affect anything on the field. But you have to admit, his exuberance about the Florida State football team is pretty fun to watch.

So who is this guy? Jeremy Fowler of CBS Sports has the details: 

After finishing two years of junior college and enrolling at FSU, Grizzle-Malgrat wasted little time contacting the head of FSU football equipment through a mutual friend. He was looking for work. He would wash uniforms, collect footballs, whatever.

He now works in tandem with Tyler O'Brien as equipment managers (he's a ball boy only on game days). During the week, he helps wash uniforms and organize the locker room.

He also has a special assignment: Jameis Winston.

"I've been put in charge of taking care of Jameis," Grizzle-Malgrat said. "I make sure Jameis has what he needs, nothing to worry about, helmets are OK, shoulder pads, him especially."

Famous Jameis and famous Red Lightning—quite the pair.

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According to Fowler, Grizzle-Malgrat played high school ball on the offensive line at Key West High but didn't have the size to play at the next level. Instead, he ultimately became the team's equipment manager as a way to break into the football business. 

And along the way, he became a national football icon on social media. Not too shabby.

He's been called college football's biggest thing since Katherine Webb. He's probably the most famous Florida State fan since Jenn Sterger. He's even had his own Reddit AMA and has one heck of a verification photo too.

Frankie Grizzle-Malgrat on Reddit

He's that blur of red beard you see racing down the sidelines when a Florida State player is running for a touchdown. He'll make sure the Seminoles don't retaliate after a big hit. He celebrates every big play. And, you know, he performs his ball-boy duties.

If college football is all about pageantry and passion, Red Lightning might just be the perfect representation of what the sport is all about. And he's also using his newfound fame to do some good, raising awareness for the Kidz1stFund, which supports research to fight Fanconi anemia, a rare blood disease that Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher's son, Ethan, suffers from.

Sure, he won't actually affect the game, but few things in college football have been more fun than seeing Red Lightning bolt down the sideline. Auburn may have its War Eagle, but Florida State will surely take its Red Lightning any day of the week.

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