Edwin Freeman, a safety/linebacker prospect from Arlington (TX) Bowie High School, is a consensus four-star recruit in the class of 2014. He has scholarship offers from Texas A&M, Oklahoma, TCU, Baylor, Ohio State, Texas and Notre Dame, among others.
Freeman stands 6'1 and weighs 200 pounds. He is projected as an outside linebacker by 247Sports, which considers him the No. 10 player at that position in the class and a top 20 player in the state of Texas. Scout considers him the sixth-best safety in the class, and Rivals also is evaluating him as a safety. All three services agree he is a four-star recruit.
As mentioned above, the primary question surrounding Freeman is what position he will end up at in college. To some extent, that may be determined by the league in which he ends up playing in -- if he ends up in the SEC, he could play strong safety in a league that doesn't value coverage versatility to the same extent as the Big 12, in which Freeman fits the mold of hybrid players like Oklahoma's Tony Jefferson or Baylor's Ahmad Dixon.
A major reason why there is so much discussion about where he projects is because he clearly has the frame to add at least 20 pounds in college -- out of pads, Freeman is hardly an imposing player in terms of his physical appearance.
In some ways, Freeman is like a small-school prospect like current Texas linebacker Steve Edmond in that the perception of his athleticism changes significantly once he puts on pads. While some recruits are workout warriors who earn consideration and even offers because of their measurables, Freeman is every bit worthy of the tired clichéof simply being called a football player.
There don't seem to be any listed 40 times for him and the Bowie product seems like the type of player who wouldn't wow in that type of setting.
What he does possess is game speed -- early on his junior highlights he anticipates a pass to the flat, runs the alley, intercepts the pass, and motors quickly into the endzone. On that play, Freeman is every bit fast enough to stay at safety in college, even if he beefs up into the 220-pound range.
Other than projections based on physical development, the impetus for classifying Freeman as an outside linebacker is the fact that he essentially played that position as a junior, operating as an edge capable of being inside out against the run and defeating blocks at the point of attack to make plays in the backfield.
On one play, Freeman is the force player against a speed sweep and shows exceptional explosiveness out of his stance to drive the ballcarrier backwards. Then he does essentially the same thing later, except on the second play he demonstrates his lateral quickness and ability to open up and run to make the play in space.
Note to future opponents -- don't run jet sweeps at Edwin Freeman.
Moreover, Freeman is clearly comfortable playing in traffic and sorting through the chaos near the line of scrimmage, keeping his motor running hot and his hands active to keep himself alive on plays.
Since there isn't a lot of video of him playing in coverage or making space tackles down the field, it may be easier to project Freeman as an outside linebacker, but there's enough evidence of his ability as a strong safety from his sophomore year that his ultimate destination may depend on the preference of the team that takes him.
It certainly wouldn't make sense for any team recruiting Freeman to tell him that they don't see him as a safety, but his instincts close to the football are top-notch and exactly what Big 12 teams are looking for in a spread linebacker.
You can find him on Twitter right here.
Freeman's junior highlights are available on Hudl.
SB Nation Recruiting's Wescott Eberts contributed the scouting report.
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