Prospects

Prospects
Photo of Marcus Freeman
Marcus Freeman (LB)
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 239
College: Ohio St.
Conference: Big Ten
Hometown: Huber Heights, OH
High School: Wayne
Featured Prospects
Selected by: Chicago Bears
Round: 5
Pick (Overall): 18 (154)
Discuss
Pick Analysis: The former Buckeye is an intriguing prospect with the athleticism to develop into a starter as a pro. Though he underachieved at times as a college player, Freeman lands in a defensive system that ideally suits his skills.
  1. Overview
  2. Analysis
Overview

Teaming with middle linebacker James Laurinaitis, Freeman helped lead a defensive unit that has ranked among the nation's elite ever since he moved into the starting lineup as a sophomore. In his three years in the lineup, the Buckeyes have ranked fifth in scoring defense in 2006 (12.77 ppg), led the nation in total defense (233.0 ypg) and scoring defense (12.77 ppg) in 2007 and gave up just 293.77 yards per game while placing sixth nationally in scoring defense (13.92 ppg) during his senior campaign.


While Freeman may not have garnered the national attention afforded Laurinaitis and cornerback Malcolm Jenkins, the OSU coaching staff regarded Freeman as its most important defensive player. He not only brought classic tackle technique, quickness, power and intelligence to the field, but he was also one of the most versatile linebackers in the country. During his career, Freeman has performed at all three linebacker positions, having also started on the strong side as a sophomore before establishing himself as the premier weak-side linebacker in the Big Ten Conference during his final two campaigns.


Freeman was rated as one of the top three overall prospects in Ohio as a senior at Wayne High School, earning Parade All-American honors as a senior. The four-year starter was also a two-time All-Ohio first-team selection. As a senior, he recorded 127 tackles, four sacks, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He also totaled 152 tackles, including 29 behind the line of scrimmage, and eight sacks as a junior. In addition to lettering in football, he competed in the 4x100-meter relay and threw the shot and discus for the school's track team.


Freeman was the top recruit in Ohio State's 2004 class. He appeared mostly on special teams as a true freshman, posting four tackles (one solo). He was scheduled to be the top reserve at outside linebacker in 2005, but in the season opener vs. Miami (Ohio) he suffered a knee injury that would sideline him for the year, earning a medical hardship.


In 2006, Freeman replaced a departed Bobby Carpenter at strong-side outside linebacker, starting 11 of the 13 games he played in. He finished tied for second on the team with 71 tackles (34 solos), adding one sack and 2.5 stops for loss. He intercepted a pair of passes and deflected six others.


Looking to free up their fastest linebacker, Freeman shifted to the weak side upon the graduation of Larry Grant. He earned second-team All-Big Ten Conference honors in 2007, also picking up Academic All-Big Ten accolades. He registered a career-high 109 tackles (66 solos), second on a team that led the nation in total defense and scoring defense. His 9.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage and two forced fumbles saw the Buckeyes finish third in rush defense (82.85 ypg).


Freeman was again named Academic All-Big Ten Conference and second-team All-Big Ten as a senior. He placed second on the team with 84 tackles (39 solos) while starting all 13 games from weak-side linebacker. He broke up four passes and recovered a fumble while also coming up with 3.5 sacks and 9.5 stops for loss.


High School

Attended Wayne (Huber Heights, Ohio) High School, where he was rated as one of the top three overall prospects in Ohio as a senior...Earned Parade All-American honors that season...The four-year starter was also a two-time All-Ohio first-team selection...As a senior, he recorded 127 tackles, four sacks, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries...Also totaled 152 tackles, including 29 behind the line of scrimmage, and eight sacks as a junior...In addition to lettering in football, he competed in the 4x100-meter relay and threw the shot and discus for the school's track team.


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Analysis

Positives: A bit shorter than scouts would like, but a well-built athlete with room for additional mass. ... Instinctive defender who flows to the ball quickly. ... Athletic enough to elude blockers and make plays at or near the line of scrimmage. ... Reliable open-field tackler. ... Breaks down well and can drive the ballcarrier into the ground. ... Good awareness and speed in coverage. ... Gets good depth on his drops. ... Reads the quarterback's eyes and closes quickly. ... Excellent special teams player. ... Tough and plays through pain. ... Solid week of practice at the Senior Bowl.


Negatives: A bit smaller than scouts would like. ... Likes to avoid blockers rather than facing them up and struggles in disengaging. ... Lacks the bulk to hold up when targeted in the running game. ... Athletic in coverage, but seems content to allow the reception to be made and make a secure tackle, rather than breaking on the ball. ... Has struggled with durability: torn knee ligaments and a subsequent staph infection forced him to redshirt the 2005 season. Had his knee scoped following the 2007 season for a possible torn meniscus. Struggled through the 2008 season with a recurring ankle sprain.


Injury Report

2005: Missed the rest of the season after suffering a knee injury vs. Miami (Ohio) in the season opener (9/03), as he developed staph infection that prevented him from returning to the field.


2007: Underwent arthroscopic knee surgery after the season to repair a meniscus tear.


2008: Hampered during parts of the season with a recurring ankle sprain.


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