Freeman Ready For His Shot

Eight former Ohio State football players are showing their wares at the NFL Scouting Combine, and linebacker Marcus Freeman is simply excited to be a part of the process. Get his thoughts on his situation, his future and his senior season as part of BSB's combine coverage.

INDIANAPOLIS – It might not have been the senior year he envisioned, but Marcus Freeman wouldn't trade it for anything.

That's the attitude put forth by the former Ohio State linebacker as he prepared to go through a full round of workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine. Although he saw his senior production decline as the Buckeyes fell short of earning a third consecutive berth in the BCS National Championship Game, Freeman said he does not care if his 2008 performance hurt his stock in the eyes of NFL evaluators.

"When you come back to Ohio State at a place like Columbus, Ohio, it's not about the draft stock or where you're going to be next year," he said. "You come back to focus on your senior year and being around these guys that I was around and to compete for a national championship like we did. I have no regrets and I'm happy I came back."

After recording 109 tackles as a junior, Freeman finished the 2008 season with 84 stops but the same number of tackles for loss (9.5). As a senior, Freeman said he was less than 100 percent as he battled both a knee sprain and a high ankle sprain.

The closest he came to being 100 percent during the season was in the regular-season finale against Michigan and the subsequent bowl game against Texas. As a result, he said the film on him from two years ago might be better than his most recent clips.

"I think at times," he said when asked if he played better in 2007. "When you're 100 percent and when you're not, you're going to play better (when you are). I was 100 percent most of 07 and I wasn't in 08. At the same time I think if you compare film there's going to be things I did this year that I didn't do last year that's going to help me be a better prospect."

Now pitching himself to NFL teams, Freeman said he is being viewed as either a strong- or weak-side linebacker at the next level.

"It doesn't matter," he said. "Just being able to be there and fly around, that's what I want."

Freeman met with the media Feb. 21, and he will go through workouts with the other linebackers Feb. 23. In his time in Indianapolis, Freeman said he had spoken with representatives from the Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts, Seattle Seahawks and New York Jets among others.

A native of Huber Heights, Ohio, Freeman said he primarily grew up as a fan of the Cincinnati Bengals but added that he rooted for individuals such as Deion Sanders, Emmett Smith and Ray Lewis for the way each played the game.

"I just liked guys who played the game with passion and that you could see it isn't about the money, it isn't about the fame, it's about being productive and being the best they can be," he said.

However, Freeman declined to describe himself as being modeled after a specific player already in the league.

"I can't sit here and say one specific person," he said. "Hopefully it's an athletic linebacker that can run around and make plays and a guy that can use his ability to get in and out of trouble and can be used on all three downs. If there's a player like that in the NFL, hopefully I can mold myself after him."

One member of the Seahawks' staff posed a question that gave Freeman pause: would he rather be named to five Pro Bowl teams or make one Super Bowl appearance?

"I think it could go either way because if you say a Super Bowl they say you're not a competitor, you don't want to be the best, and if you say five Pro Bowls then they say it's not about the team," he said. "I think they want to see how you react and what your mind set (is)."

For the record, Freeman said he would take the Super Bowl over the five Pro Bowls.

Listed in the OSU media guide at 6-2, 239 pounds, Freeman measured in at 6-0 ½, 239 pounds.

The best thing he brings to the table is his overall athleticism, Freeman said.

"You can get out of bad situations and put yourself in good situations," he said. "I think being at Ohio State you're ready to play in the NFL. I think we play against the best competition there is. When I play against James Laurinaitis and Beanie Wells and Malcolm Jenkins, those are the top three players at their positions. To play against those guys, you get close to being NFL ready."

As for the draft itself, Freeman said he has no goals or hopes regarding where he might be drafted or in what round he might hear his name called. Simply being in this position is rewarding enough, he said.

"I think if you get caught up in the rounds then it's a stressful period," he said. "For me, if I get the chance to be in the NFL from there I'm going to see what I do from there. It's just important for me to get that chance, to be able to make a team and say, ‘I'm going to be on an NFL roster.' That's going to be a dream come true."


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