Four-star LB Barajas high on Purdue

Four-star linebacker Josh Barajas is high on Purdue, that following a visit in West Lafayette.

Shocked was a word Josh Barajas used to describe his interactions with Purdue linebackers coach Marcus Freeman.

The four-star linebacker had developed a relationship with the Boilermakers' second-year assistant, and believed he was a genuine guy, but didn't expect the exuberant passion.

"I didn't really expect him to be like that," Barajas said of Freeman. "His passion for everything, I really think he meant every single word he said. That really shocked me.

"Definitely his whole perspective on coaching, it shocked me the most."

Freeman is an enthusiastic young coach early in his career, and has built strong relationships with recruits. He and Barajas speak by phone weekly, discussing everything from football to life. Over the weekend, the linebacker got to have those interactions in person on Purdue's campus.

The visit didn't include any fancy presentation and the Boilermakers didn't roll out the black and gold carpet. Instead, Barajas got the chance to sit down for lunch and conversation with Freeman and head coach Darrell Hazell. That's what mattered the most.

"Getting to know Coach Freeman and getting to see how the coaches conduct themselves in real life, instead of over the phone or on social network," Barajas said. "I liked to see how they communicate, how they talk, eye contact, and their passion for the game."

Barajas, a star at Andrean (Ind.) High School who's rated the nation's 16th-overall outside linebacker, admitted that his relationship with Freeman is a primary why Purdue is one of his top schools. The linebackers coach continues his strong sell on what the Boilermakers are building.

"Coach Freeman really helps Purdue stand out a lot, because that's the linebackers coach, the one I'll be spending most of my time with," he said. "I really trust him."

Barajas also holds offers from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, NC State, Penn State, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin. While he doesn't have a formal list, he said Purdue would be in his top five.

Chris Emma has covered recruiting, college athletics and professional baseball for FOX Sports Next since 2009. Emma covered the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Northwestern Wildcats, and currently covers the Purdue Boilermakers. A Chicago native, he resides in West Lafayette.
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