Five assistant coaches had their first Purdue practice Tuesday
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The linebackers look to be one of the top units for Purdue in 2015
The linebackers took their turn talking to the media on Thursday.
Freeman has turned Purdue's linebacking corps from one of the biggest questions marks to one of its strengths over the past three seasons. Under Freeman's guide, juniors Ja'Whaun Bentley and Danny Ezechukwu, along with rising fifth-year senior Jimmy Herman, have become the backbone of the defense.
Bentley, a "USA Today" Freshman All-American in 2014, has amassed 125 total tackles in merely 17 games played (7.4 average per game) and was voted a captain by his teammates prior to the 2015 season. Ezechukwu broke out with a 43-tackle season as a redshirt freshman in 2014 and followed it up with 79 stops in 2015, the most by any of Purdue's linebackers and second on the team. Despite being plagued with injuries in the middle of the 2015 season, Herman has posted 110 tackles, including 7.5 for losses, in three seasons.
Freeman spent the two years previous to his arrival in West Lafayette at Kent State. Under Freeman's direction, inside linebacker Luke Batton earned second team All-Mid-American Conference honors in 2012 after finishing with 143 total tackles, including 80 solo stops. Outside linebacker C.J. Malauulu was a third team all-conference selection in 2012, recording 72 total tackles. The pair swapped places on the all-conference team in 2011, with Malauulu garnering second team recognition and Batton third team.
Freeman served the 2010 season as a graduate assistant coach at his alma mater, Ohio State, and the Buckeyes went 12-1 with a victory in the Sugar Bowl.
A four-year letterwinner for the Buckeyes from 2004 to 2008, Freeman earned second team All-Big Ten honors in 2008 while helping lead Ohio State to four conference titles, three BCS bowls and two trips to the national title game during his career. He played in the 2009 Senior Bowl and was a fifth-round draft pick of the Chicago Bears, spending time with the Bears, Buffalo Bills and Houston Texans before a medical condition ended his playing career.
A 2007 Ohio State graduate, he earned Academic All-Big Ten and academic all-district honors. In 2011, he earned a master's degree in sports management from Ohio State.
Freeman graduated from Wayne High School in Huber Heights, Ohio, and was a Parade All-American.