Royce Freeman scouting report: Top running back prospect

Student Sports

Southern California bruising back Royce Freeman has at least 19 offers, from almost every Pac-12 school all the way to the SEC.

Royce Freeman's a big back from Imperial (Calif.) High School, a junior whose skill set and running style has earned him scholarship offers from all across the country.

Freeman is a running back who already has college size, despite still having another year of high school left. He's 6'0 and listed as somewhere between 210 and 220 pounds, making him large for his position. He's listed as a four-star recruit by most services, with 247 ranking him as the No. 8 running back in the country and Rivals ranking him No. 28. Scout is less enthusiastic, considering him a three-star back.

Hailing from just near the US-Mexico border about two hours from San Diego, Freeman's gotten offers from UCLA, Arizona, and Arizona State, as well as Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Cal, Colorado, Washington, and Washington State -- 10 of the Pac-12's 12 schools. His 19 offers also include Florida State, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Nebraska, and Vanderbilt.

Derrell Warren, West Coast Recruiting Analyst: Freeman is a big running back currently listed at close to 6'0 and between 215 to 218 pounds, depending on the recruiting service. Due to his college-ready size, he is an imposing back.

Off the hoof Freeman profiles as a downhill power runner. However, his movement skills give his game a greater degree of diversity. He has been utilized as a workhorse back in his high school career due to the fact that his physical maturity enables him to handle a heavy workload.

Currently Freeman is used on a variety of counters, power, isos, and even jet sweeps. Due to this, he is able to grind out yards in between the tackles but is also afforded the opportunity to get to the edge and out into space.

On tape, Freeman breaks his share of long runs, but that likely won't translate to college considering the level of his current competition. That said, he's effective in space due to his great body control and ability to redirect his momentum cleanly. And, unlike a lot of big backs, he doesn't need to gather his frame prior to changing direction.

Freeman is a big runner with the ability to create out of the edge. With that being said, he is at his best attacking defenses in between the tackles and getting vertical. Though he runs a bit high and can do a better job running behind his pads, he shows patience in pressing the hole and the peripheral vision to see the cutback lane. He shows jump-cut ability as well. After bursting through the initial crease he makes tight interior cuts, unlocking the defense at the second level. Shows agility that belies his size when side-stepping defenders.

At this stage, Freeman doesn't always run as physical as his size would suggest he should as his first instinct oftentimes seems to be to elude defenders. When he does initiate contact, however, he shows a nice ability to spin away from contact and maintain his balance. He can do this both out in space and in more compressed areas.

Freeman is a target for many BCS programs and should be able to step in early in his career and be a contributor. Considering that he should get close to 230 pounds, he projects to the bell cow back at the next level once he understands pass protection responsibilities.

Derrell Warren also writes at Pacific Coast Recruits. Follow him on twitter @yssd.

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