"It was kinda funny," Freeman said. "I was playing offensive line because I was a little chubby at the time. Then when I started getting older, I started getting faster and more athletic. That's when I started playing the other positions."
That same kid is now a 6-foot-2, 240-pound middle linebacker and one of the best in America. As a junior last season, he registered 152 tackles and eight sacks. He doubles as a running back, where he went for several hundred yards. His recent performance at the Ohio State summer camp showed off his rare athleticism.
"I was 240 and I ran a 4.38/40 the first run," he said. "The coaches didn't believe it so they came over and made me run it again. The second time I got a 4.46. Maybe the 4.38 was a little off but I still showed them I'm fast enough. I did 9'11" on the broad jump too."
Freeman, a full academic qualifier, also competes in basketball and track. He throws the shot put (56 feet) and discus (153 feet).
The talented linebacker has become one of the nation's premier prospects at his position.
"I'm still looking at a bunch of schools right now," he said. "O-State, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Michigan State, Florida, and Nebraska. Those are the ones I'm looking at. The first five I mentioned are the ones I like the most and the ones I'm concentrating on right now."
Freeman, who has offers from each of his five favorites, considers himself blessed to be in the situation he's in.
"I'm getting used to everything by now," the personable Freeman said. "I'm doing my best not to let it go to my head or anything like that. I see it as a blessing. Sometimes when kids get all these phone calls and everything it can be frustrating. But I understand it's only going to happen once and it's happening for a reason. I've been blessed. I look at some of the best lienbackers in today's game and think that's where I want to be some day. I understand that it's going to take a lot of hard work and dedication to get to that level. I still have a long ways to go."
Freeman said his interest in Miami goes back a few years.
"I've been interested in Miami for awhile now," he said. "Being in the national title hunt every year catches your attention. If you go to Miami, you'll compete for a national championship every year, you'll be playing for a great program, and you'll be playing at a place that puts a lot of people into the pros."
The talented linebacker was excited when he heard from the UM coaches this past spring.
"Coach Chud called me," he said. "I was real happy. It was kinda interesting because he played tight end for Miami and was from Ohio. He's now their offensive coordinator. He said they really like me and wanted to know if they could get me to come down for an official visit. I was like 'of course!' They offered me at the end of my school year and that was real cool."
Freeman realizes the Hurricanes unsuccessfully tried to recruit players like David Patterson, Louis Irizarry, and Donte Whitner away from the Buckeyes last year.
"Those guys all went for visits," he said. "Some of them even came close to going to Miami but they liked it here just a little more. That doesn't necessarily mean that I will too."
The standout linebacker said leaving Ohio won't be a major problem.
"Whatever fits me," he said. "I do want my parents to have a chance to see me play. I don't want them to have to buy a plane ticket every week or anything like that. I know there's satellite and stuff like that where they could maybe see me."
Freeman said he's already had experience going away from home.
"I went to a national combine in Texas last January," he said. "It was right before the All-American Bowl. That trip gave me a chance to grow up. It was a learning experience for me and made me realize that there are other places that could fit me well."
One of the things Freeman did while in Texas was watch the Fiesta Bowl.
"It was great," he said. "A lot of the guys there were rooting hard for Miami. I was just watching it for a good game. A couple of calls went Ohio State's way but it takes some lucky breaks to win a national title and that's what happened. I thought about how mad Miami would be the next year. I can't wait to take one of my visits there later this year."
LB Strongly Considering UM
Canes Time Top Stories
Jeff James Jr. to Leave ProgramCORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami announced Sunday that defensive back Jeff James Jr., is no longer a member of the football program.
Canes TimeYesterday at 2:34 PM
Canes Land Saturday CommitmentThe Canes picked up another big commitment on Saturday. Read on to learn about it.
Canes TimeSaturday at 8:20 PM
Spring Scrimmage: Mark Richt Q&ARead on to see what head coach Mark Richt was saying following today's spring scrimmage.
Canes TimeSaturday at 2:28 PM
April 22 Scrimmage StatsHere are the unofficial stats from today's spring scrimmage.
Canes TimeSaturday at 2:25 PM
Spring Scrimmage Report: April 22BOCA RATON, Fla. – University of Miami head football coach Mark Richt was back where it all began on Saturday afternoon.
Canes TimeSaturday at 2:22 PM