Florida in it for California back

The depth chart and offense at Florida should be inviting for star running backs, even as far as California. So is the case with Imperial (CA) big back Royce Freeman who says the Gators are one of a handful of schools he is considering strongly at this time. Freeman's versatility at the position along with big time athletic traits has programs all over trying to land him.

Florida went to see Royce Freeman about a month ago and he was offered. The Gators are short at the position and Freeman is one they would go after if they weren't.

Assistant Brian White recruits the state of California for the Gators and also coaches running backs. The Gators are looking for bigger backs with speed and the ability to move around in a versatile offense.

"Coach White came down a while ago and we talked and everything went very well," Freeman said earlier this week. He said they think that I could be a big player in the conference coached under Coach White and especially with my combination of size and speed."

Freeman likes the way that Florida uses the back in the offense and knows they want to be even more versatile. He also understands the importance of playing in a big time football conference like the Southeastern Conference.

"They move people around in the offense and they like to use backs in different ways," he said of the Gators. "The SEC is one of the best conferences. Just the caliber of players that they have and getting to the next level is amazing."

His skills make him a prime candidate for offenses that want to feature the backs and want to get them in open spaces.

"I think what separates me from other guys is that I am a versatile back out of the backfield," the 6-1, 225 pounder said. "I am just open to try anything offensively and will do whatever I am coached to do. I can do anything on the field."

Florida's Brent Pease wants to open things up a bit like he used to do at Boise State and the other two schools he is high on either do it already or offer up that potential as well.

"I am still open honestly, but I have been looking at Florida, Oregon, and UCLA," he said. "They are schools that I have been talking to a while and have great relationships with the coaches.

UCLA head coach Jim Mora brings his NFL mentality to the game and his experience at the highest level has left an impression on Freeman.

"Coach Jim Mora is a great guy," Freeman said. "He has been to the next level and knows what to expect and his coaching staff also has many guys from the NFL. It is just a great staff."

Oregon has a new head coach, but Mark Helfrich was the offensive coordinator of the high flying Oregon Ducks last year and will retain the same offense in 2013. Besides the offense, Freeman knows that the position coach at the school is big time.

"Coach Gary Campbell has been there for 30 years and knows what he is doing with the running backs," Freeman said. "He is well established. It is a great offense that will spread you out and pick you apart. With Coach Helfrich there, he was the offensive coordinator there and I don't expect them to change at all.

The Pac-12 schools may have the advantage in terms of distance from home. The Gators will have to make sure he feels like home on the East coast.

"Distance is probably going to be a factor, but if I feel like I am going to be comfortable with it being my home away from home, I can do it.

"My mom and dad will play a part in the decision. They are fine with (the distance issue) and it is how I feel most comfortable. They will try as much as they can to come see me no matter what."

He has no set visit to Florida yet and also no set time to announce as well.

"I am just going to play it by ear and see what comes up," he said. "I haven't gotten to that point so far."

Freeman is a guy that leads by example and the way he plays the game. He says being a vocal leader is something his coach is working on with him.

"It is a quality of mine, but I am more into showing by actions than words," he said of being a leader. "Coach is trying to work on me being an outspoken leader and I am working on that.

In the meantime, he will keep doing his thing.

"I am a hard working guy," he said. "I am open to any coaching. They know more than I do. I am a very humble guy that likes to have fun but I like to play hard as well."


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