Frey is a 1986 graduate of St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, where he played quarterback. As a three-year startingquarterback for the Ohio State Buckeyes, he led the team to two notable come-from-behind wins. On September 24, 1988, he rallied Ohio State from a 33-20 deficit in the final four minutes to a 36–33 victory over the ninth-ranked LSU Tigers. On October 28, 1989, the Buckeyes were losing 31-0 to the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Frey brought the team back for a 41–37 win, throwing a total of 362 yards (331 m).