Freeny, Rutgers' starting defensive end last season, is looking to change that perception, and he has good reason to believe he can starting turning opinions during today's pro day at Rutgers because of circumstances which led to his unproductive season.
"My knee was messed up," Freeny said. "It was aching most of my senior year. I wasn't moving as fast on the field. That's about it. Everything else was the same, but I didn't have the speed and quickness I usually have.
"There was frustration, but I learned to play through it, and to play for the seniors, and those things. I just needed to rest my knee, and now it feels better than ever."
For the last two months Freeny trained in Florida. He added 15 pounds and plans to weigh in today at 255 pounds, which will be a nice size for his 6-foot-3 frame.
"I'm more anxious and excited about it than nervous," he said. "My goal is just to leave the scouts with the mindset that this guy is going to work hard and he's going to put in the effort, and more than anybody else."
It is not the star-studded pro day Rutgers hosted the last few years, but there is plenty of intrigue beyond safety Joe Lefeged, who went to the NFL combine and ran 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
Cornerback Brandon Bing, a former track star, could showcase his speed and help his stock if he runs well. Offensive lineman Howard Barbieri will try to show his strength and athleticism, linebacker Antonio Lowery will try to impress the scouts with a combination of speed and size and defensive end Alex Silvestro will get the chance to demonstrate his athleticism and versatility.
All the while Freeny will be trying to show he is more like the guy who registered 9 ½ sacks and 33 tackles as a backup to George Johnson in 2009 rather than the player who had ½ sacks and 38 tackles in 2010, which he attributes largely to his once-sore knee.
During training Freeny said his focus was on technique.
"It was a lot of stuff on explosion, quickness," he said. "We worked on that, and we did a lot of work on the treadmill to work on my speed, power and steps. Those types of things."