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#CFBTop25: No. 21, Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon

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With 2014 Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota out of the program and in the NFL, Royce Freeman carried more of the offensive load during his true sophomore season. He responded by breaking LaMichael James' single-season school record for rushing yards with 1,836. That was good for fourth in the FBS behind Derrick Henry's 2,219 yards, Christian McCaffrey's 2,019 yards and Leonard Fournette's 1,953 yards.

CFB 24/7 is marking the days to the start of the 2016 season by counting down the top 25 players in college football.

Freeman -- who is on the watch lists for the Doak Walker, Maxwell and Walter Camp awards -- was the Pac-12 Conference Freshman Offensive Player of the Year in 2014, rushing for 1,365 yards and 18 touchdowns for a Ducks team that advanced to the first College Football Playoff championship game.

Pulling back the curtain on the vote


Freeman received votes from three of seven CFB 24/7 experts, but one was in the top 10 and another was in the top 15. In CFB 24/7's "16 for '16" series, Freeman checks in at No. 14 in a countdown of the top Heisman Trophy contenders for 2016.

What some of our analysts are saying about Freeman


"Freeman doesn't get enough national attention. He is doing a lot of the same things Jonathan Stewart did while he was at Oregon." -- Daniel Jeremiah

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"With two years of exceptional production in the books, Freeman is looking to be one of the most prolific runners in Oregon history. A rare combination of size and speed should keep him near the top of the FBS stat sheet for running backs all season long." -- Lance Zierlein

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"Freeman gives the Ducks a bigger, stronger back than what is typical for the spread offense. He's as much a threat to lead the FBS in rushing this season as Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey or anyone else." -- Chase Goodbread

Where do fans rank Freeman?


We asked Twitter users who they considered the best player in college football. Freeman finished 15th in the fan vote.

Follow College Football 24/7 on Twitter @NFL_CFB.

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