Future Stars magazine has referred to Marcus Freeman as the "next in line
of the great Ohio linebackers", referencing names like Matt Wilhelm, Andy
Katzenmoyer and Chris Spielman. That's a heavy load to lay at the feet of a
17-year old kid, but if anyone can lift that load, it's Marcus Freeman! Marcus
says he benches 430 pounds, and at the national Army All-Star Combine for
juniors, he benched 185 pounds a remarkable 28 times.
So we know how strong he is –what about his
Huber Heights Wayne Head Football Coach Jay Minton knows
quality at the high school level, and he knows what it takes to have athletes
succeed at the next level as well. He coached both Greg and Steve
Bellisari in Boca Raton and the Wayne program has sent Will Allen and John
Hollins to the Buckeyes. Last year, cornerback Ashton Watson slipped from Wayne
to Michigan State but that seems to be an anomaly, in retrospect.
Coach Minton compared Marcus to Greg Bellisari in that
"Both have great academics and both are students of the game. Greg might have
been a little faster but Marcus is stronger. If you want to talk great heart and
over-achievers, Greg has the edge. But when you talk about athletic ability,
physical gifts and work ethic, too – then Marcus has the edge. Without
question, Marcus could be better than Greg if he keeps working. He is bigger,
taller and stronger".
Coach Minton marvels at Marcus's athletic abilities. "This year, Marcus will play linebacker, tight end, fullback, and be our punter. He's got great hands and has had punts in games of over 70 yards".
Where's he going to play at the next level? "I think he
will be an outside linebacker", said the coach. "He has the speed and talent
to react and chase down any running back."
As to his physical stature, Marcus is 6'2" and weighs
232 pounds. He ran a 4.58 forty, a 4.2 in the shuttle and has a 30-inch vertical
leap; all great numbers for players much smaller than Freeman. His weight
training numbers are knockouts: 430-pound bench press, 575 squat and 340 pound
hang clean. I asked about the 28 reps of 185 pounds he did at the Army All-Star
Combine and he said it was true but that he disappointed himself there.
"I've done 25 reps of 225 in the Wayne weight room," he said.
Marcus talks about what he wants to improve upon: "I want to work on my explosiveness – to make more head-turning hits. I feel like I've got great awareness and my cover skills are real good."
I had to ask about the budding punting legend. He laughed
and said, "I had a 78-yarder and a 73-yarder last year but I shanked a few so
my average wasn't that good."
We talked a little about the football camps, past and
future. He was up at OSU last year and plans on returning this spring. He says
that he wants to go to one-day camps at all of his favorite college
possibilities. And who are they? "Ohio State, Michigan, Florida, Oklahoma,
Notre Dame and maybe Penn State."
He will make another visit to Ohio State this weekend as he
is looking forward to being part of the Junior Day experience.
And, of course, we tried to pin Marcus down as to where he
will eventually commit and when he will make that decision. "It won't be an
early decision," he said. "I want to take my five visits and see the
schools. Plus, if I committed early, there would be less coverage of my team and
our program - and some of my teammates wouldn't get the attention they