Five assistant coaches had their first Purdue practice Tuesday
Facts and figures, stats and stories on the newest Boilermakers
News & Notes on Purdue Athletics
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, rising juniors Ja'Whaun Bentely and Danny Ezechukwu, along with rising 5th-year senior Jimmie Herman, have become the backbone of the Boilermakers' defense.
Bentley, a 2014 USA TODAY Freshman All-American, 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 total 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 under Freeman's guide.
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-MAC 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, he earned second team All-Big Ten honors in 2008 while helping to lead OSU to four conference titles, three BCS bowls and two trips to the national title game during his career. Freeman, who played in the 2009 Senior Bowl, was a fifth-round draft pick of the Chicago Bears, and spent time with the Bears, Buffalo Bills and Houston Texans before a medical condition ended his pro career.
A 2007 Ohio State graduate, he earned Academic All-Big Ten and College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District honors. In 2011, he earned a master's degree in sports management from OSU.
A Parade All-America honoree, he graduated from Wayne High School in Huber Heights, Ohio.