Just like fifty percent of Ducks at the University of Oregon, this next Duckling Profile subject did not reside in Oregon prior to arriving at the University. He’s from the golden state of California, adding to the growing abundance of Californians and also adding to the argument that the UO might as well be called “UC Oregon.” But, there are no complaints here with this five-star recruit.
Royce Freeman hails from Imperial, California, where he attended Imperial High School. He played football all four years, but began his journey on the JV squad. With only five games left in his freshman year, Freeman had made enough of an impression to earn a spot on the varsity where he stayed until his final game as a senior in Imperial. Freeman started his second game with the varsity. He played mostly inside linebacker, but he began to share the running back position. This fall he will be a running back, joining the likes of Thomas Tyner and Byron Marshall.
In the first game of his senior year, Freeman ran for 340-yards with five touchdowns on 22 carries. He ended that season with 43 touchdowns to end his high school career at 119 touchdowns. He garnered 7,606 rushing yards total with an average of 185.5 yards per game on 645 total carries. Even with his stellar stats, Royce Freeman worried about his football future. While scouts and coaches were rushing around the country to award players with scholarships and positions, Freeman remained in Imperial, waiting for his turn.
Eventually, Freeman got his chance. He attended the LA Nike Training Camp in March, 2013, where he received the running back MVP. Then Freeman broke through the 24/7 Sports top 100. A month later, Oregon became his second offer. Additional offers from Alabama, FSU, Stanford, and USC continued to flow and he was also offered spots in the Army All-American Bowl and “The Opening” at Nike Campus.
The Ducks discovered this recruit tucked away near the Mexican border; Gary Campbell visited in May 2013. A month later Freeman unofficially visited UO. After another month passed, Freeman committed. Oregon was the only school he showed extended interest in, even with big names like ‘Bama and last year’s BCS National Champions FSU on the table.
Freeman’s loyalties clearly lay with the Ducks: “I am so excited, just to have that opportunity to be a part of Oregon, nonetheless, it makes me excited. It is a dream come true to see people playing on TV knowing I can be there.”
Freeman had an incredibly accomplished high school career. He was a semi-finalist for the USAAA Player-of-the-Year Award after scoring three touchdowns during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Other awards include: Division II first-team all-state honoree, California’s Medium Schools Player-of-the-Year, Imperial Valley League’s Offensive Player-of-the-Year and San Diego Sections Offensive Player-of-the-Year. He also holds two records: a section-record of 7,601-yards and a single-game school record of 353 rushing yards.
Freeman stands around 6-feet and at 227 lbs and has skills that fit any system. He’s a big guy who’s tough to take down, but still has impressive agility. He was ranked as high as No. 8 in the running back field and was the No. 2 in the West. On ESPN, he broke well into the top 100 players. Not only is Freeman a stellar player, he’s also got great character. His Imperial coach Kerry Legarra joked, “I would let him date my daughter.” A father does not say that lightly about his daughter.
In the coming year Royce Freeman looks to become a primary challenger to Tyner and Marshall — just as we look forward to seeing how he will contribute to the offense for (hopefully) the next four years.
In 85 more days, we’ll begin to see Freeman’s full impact.
Top photo from Army Recruiting