Vols Bullish on Eltoro

He's listed as the nation's No. 23 linebacker prospect in Scout.com's first rankings of the Class of 2007, but Eltoro Freeman of Alexander City, Ala., is right there at the top of the class when it comes to fabulous football names.

Eltoro! How Peerless Priceless is that? What a hoot and a backer to boot.

A linebacker with a first name that literally translates into "The Bull" in Spanish. To top it off, he plays like a bull in the proverbial China cabinet, except that Eltoro does all of his damage in opponents' backfields.

As a junior for Benjamin Russell High School, Freeman recorded 52 of his 100 tackles for losses, including eight sacks from his inside linebacker post. He forced three fumbles, recovered two and deflected a pair of passes. He played sparingly on offense but gained 100 yards rushing on only six carries, helping Alexander City to reach the state Class-5A semifinal where it lost to eventual state champion Homewood.

He's also as strong as a bull. Consider that at 5-foot-11, 205 pounds, he can nearly bench press twice his body weight. He won the 220-pound division of the state power-lifting competition, and can press 400 pounds in the bench, 500 in the squat and 295 in the power clean. That's scary strong. That type of strong would shame most high-profile, 300-pound O-line prospects.

Eltoro Freeman is as fierce and as a bull maybe more athletic. He sees red regardless of what the opponent's colors are. Like a bull in the arena, or the ideal linebacker on the gridiron, he has a seek-and-destroy mentality and hits with authority. Oh yeah, he has a 40-inch vertical and runs a 4.53 time in the 40.

"I have great instincts," he told Scout.com's Andrew Bone. "I always try to make big plays. I read the offense very well. I need to work on my pass coverage and my catching ability before next season."

Freeman saw his stock take a sharp turn upward after an excellent showing at the Scout.com Combine in Tuscalooa last month and his list of offers have increased proportionally.

"I received three new offers this week," Freeman stated. "I received offers from Georgia Tech, Memphis and Southern Miss. It feels real good to pick up some more offers.

The offers will pick up significantly if Freeman receives his qualifying test score to complement his 2.8 core GPA. His first attempt resulted in a reported score of 15. Still that hasn't discourage coaches from continuing to contact the compact linebacker.

"I have talked to several coaches lately on the phone," he told Bone. "I spoke to Tennessee today [Thursday]. I have received calls from Memphis, Southern Miss, Tennessee, Auburn, Alabama, LSU, Arkansas and South Carolina."

His list of favorites features six SEC schools in Alabama, Auburn, Florida, LSU, Georgia and Tennessee. (Auburn and Tennessee have both offered.) He also likes Florida State which he has visited along with Auburn and Alabama during the spring. He expects to get a better feel for UT next week when he is slated to take part in the Vols seniors camp.

"I am going to Auburn, Alabama and Tennessee's camp for sure," he said. "I plan to go to a lot of them. I want to hit up as many as I can."

Naturally, Eltoro takes the same approach to the game of football.

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