Print and Go Back On The Trail: West Region [Print without images]

Wednesday, March 20, 2013
RB Freeman continues his hot streak

By Erik McKinney

Every year, a handful of players in the West put together breakout springs, where it seems that not a week goes by without several big-name programs entering the recruiting race. This year, that list would be incomplete without running back Royce Freeman (Imperial, Calif./Imperial), who held one offer at the close of his junior season and is now headed toward 20.

"It's still crazy," Freeman said of the rush since signing day for the 2013 recruiting class. "Every week, new offers are coming in. I'm just trying to manage all of it."

Royce Freeman
Junior running back Royce Freeman totaled a 88.32 SPARQ Rating at the Los Angeles Nike SPARQ Combine.
His most recent offer came from UCLA, which extended it on Tuesday. But the 6-foot, 220-pound back also tallied recent offers from Arizona State, Colorado, Nebraska, Stanford and Wisconsin, which add to earlier offers from Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado State, Florida State, Nevada, Oregon State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Washington.

"I really didn't expect anything until my senior season," Freeman said. "But right now coaches are calling my coach, and I call back the recruiting coordinators. They say they've seen my film, and they think I'm one of the best."

Freeman's first offer came from Washington, and he guessed that he held either three or four offers in early February. At this point, there is no telling how many he'll have when the summer ends.

For now, Freeman is content to let the offers come in and keep clear of leaning toward any leaders or schools that stand apart from any others.

"Everyone is on the table right now," Freeman said of his options. "I don't know what schools I want to visit yet, but hopefully during the next couple of weeks, I'll get enough familiarity with some of them."

With so many schools coming in on a weekly basis, it can be difficult to keep track of all the options, so Freeman has something of a ritual he goes through whenever a new offer comes in.

"As the offers come in, my mom and I talk about it the day of, and place it in the order of how I feel about that college," Freeman said. "First I'll Google the coach's name so that I can match a face to the voice, then I'll look at the staff. I'll look up the school site to see the history and what positive things they say about the football program."

The fact that Freeman has made such an impact this spring isn't all that surprising. He rushed for 2,482 yards and 34 touchdowns and caught 10 passes for 137 yards and two scores last year. At the recent Los Angeles Nike Camp, Freeman was one of the most impressive recruits out of the gate, and he backed it up with a very strong performance. He said the coaches who have offered have raved both about his game film as well as video from the Nike Camp.

"They say they like my speed-size ratio and that I also have quick feet," Freeman said. "They say I have tremendous upside and so much potential."

Freeman realized much of that potential early, although he began his Pop Warner career as a slot receiver, due to the fact that he was playing with kids who were older. Once he got to Imperial, he slid to running back and has starred there -- with some defensive responsibilities as well -- ever since. This season, Freeman expects to start at tailback and also play free safety.

Freeman would like to take all five official visits this fall, although he allowed for the possibility that he could find the right school before using all of his trips. He added that forming a schedule also would depend on how many more offers come his way and the timing of those offers.

Although he is well into double-digits, there are a few schools still out there that he would like to hear from.

"There's always USC," he said. "They have so much potential in this region. And Notre Dame is a great school with great tradition and history with their football program."

But for now, Freeman is happy to enjoy the attention, simply because of what it means for his teammates, as college coaches definitely will be stopping by during the evaluation period.

"We have some other athletes on our team as well," Freeman said. "Our center, Evan Pumphrey is probably the most hard-working guy you'll find. Schools have said he probably isn't an early-offer guy, but he's a hard-working lineman and definitely a guy to take a look at."