gymnasium at Wayne High School was full with people who seemed to be genuinely
excited and elated for the man of the hour, Marcus Freeman.
The band played and the cheerleaders cheered for the player they affectionately referred to as "The Deuce" (Freeman's number at Wayne) in one of their cheers.
Freeman was being honored for being selected to participate in the Army All-American game in January, one of three Ohio prepsters named to play in the elite all-star game.
Immediately after he received his honor from the good people at the Army, it was time for Freeman to make a special announcement of his own.
He said he wanted to take this special opportunity in front of his teammates and fellow classmates to announce where he will continue playing his college football at.
Earlier in the summer, Freeman made it clear that he narrowed his choices down to five of the best college football programs in the country: Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Oklahoma and Miami.
"From that point I narrowed it down to three schools which was Michigan, Ohio State and Notre Dame," said Freeman, who had the hats of those three schools there in front of him.
He spoke briefly about all three schools before he went on.
"So then I had to narrow it down to two," Freeman said, "and I ruled out Michigan."
Most in attendance applauded. Is there a Buckeye fan on the planet that didn't love hearing that?
"That brought me to Ohio State and Notre Dame," he said. "I sat down with my parents, looked at the pros and the cons of each school, it was a very tough decision, but I finally came to a decision....(reaching for one of the three hats and picking up the bright red one)... of Ohio State University."
The partisan crowd erupted in applause!
Marcus and his family
The suspense was over. One of the best linebackers in not only the
state of Ohio, but in the nation, chose The Ohio State University to continue
his football career at.
Freeman fielded questions from the media in attendance after the official event and it was initially asked of him how he came to his decision.
"It was a long thought-out process with me and my parents, just sitting down and looking at the pros and cons of each school," Freeman said. "But the final decision came down to a gut feeling. I prayed about it and Ohio State was the school for me in my heart."
He briefly spoke of his mom and dad and their impact in his decision to attend Ohio State. Just prior to him making his official announcement, Freeman spoke affectionately about his mom and dad as well as his brother Mike.
"My mom and dad were my biggest (influence) because they're my family," he said. "I asked them what they thought about it. And then John Hollins and Will Allen, they're Ohio State Buckeyes right now, and nobody is closer to me than them at Ohio State."
He went on to say that he was relieved to have the whole process behind him.
"It was a fun process through the whole thing. But now I feel
relieved that I ain't got to worry about coaches calling until 10 or 11 at
night, so I can just concentrate on my senior season."
He made it clear that competition at linebacker is something he's looking forward to.
"Any where I looked at, any big school you went to in the nation had competition. All schools recruit people every year so I knew that wherever I went that I was going to have competition so that really didn't make my decision. Now it's just going to be a matter of going up there, working hard and having to beat some guys out."
Of course the obligatory Fred Davis and Ted Ginn question was asked.
Coach Jay Minton and Marcus
"Me and Fred and Ted, we're all good friends," he said. "We're
all classified as the top three players in the state. So my goal now,
since I'm at Ohio State, is to get those two players there. If we get all
three it's going to be a good recruiting class."
And he spoke of how big of an honor the day turned out to be for him.
"It's a great honor, just to have all my peers here, my family here and all the people in my life here that are special to me. It's a great honor to have something like this presented to me."
It's all about the Wayne Warriors for him now.
"I just want to concentrate on my senior season now," Freeman said. "I don't have to worry about coaches calling and worry about where I'm going. Now I can just concentrate on my senior season and making it to the playoffs."
He described his feelings during the ceremony.
"I was very emotional. Seeing all of these people here just cheering for you, you thank God that you're up here and all of these people are here for you. It's weird but it's very emotional. I got teary-eyed up there just looking at all of these people here. It's a great honor."
It's similar to the feeling he gets being in Ohio Stadium.
"Just being at Ohio Stadium put a feeling in me that no other stadium could. I've been to a lot of stadiums and no other stadium could put that feeling that Ohio Stadium put in there to me."
Freeman said he called the coaches at the other schools last night to let them know the news. He plans to continue going to Ohio State games.
"I feel relieved. I'm ready to start practice today after school and let's get it on."
Just as Donte Whitner of Cleveland Glenville did last year, Freeman said he will enroll at Ohio State in January, right after he plays in the Army All-American game.