Freeman Thrives next to Little Animal

Freeman Thrives next to Little Animal
Marcus Freeman

Freeman Thrives next to Little Animal

Do great linebackers come in pairs? Ohio State fans were worried when Bobby Carpenter and AJ Hawk left college the same year leaving the Buckeyes with little experience at the linebacker position. But right behind them emerged another great tandem in Marcus Freeman and James Laurinaitis.

By Steve Patterson

Playing Next to Laurinaitis

            Marcus Freeman has performed as well as everyone had hoped when he arrived in Columbus in 2004 from Huber Heights Wayne. But not everyone has noticed as another linebacker stole the headlines and the attention of opposing defenses. “I’m a football fan and to have a great player like that is really interesting because it’s not so often that you’re going to have that. I don’t need all the accolades – I’m happy being the sidekick and I want to keep doing a good job.” Freeman told reporters after practice earlier this week.

Two Great Seasons

            When Freeman went down in 2005 with a knee injury that ended his season, it could have also stalled his career with the Buckeyes. But he recovered quickly and had a great sophomore year getting 71 tackles and 15 in the National Championship game against Florida. His junior season was even better when he made 14 tackles in the losing effort against LSU.

            Freeman also talked about teams not paying attention to him like LSU did to their peril. “When you have a player like (James Laurinaitis), opposing teams are going to usually send two players just to make sure he is blocked. I was reading Sports Illustrated yesterday and it said when LSU was getting ready for us they had two No. 33’s on their scout team. That helps me out a lot because with so much focus on a guy like that, maybe they aren’t concentrating on me so that I can slip in and be unblocked.”

The Next Great Tandom

            Freeman and Laurinaitis could both be first round NFL selections after their senior years this year. Who will be the next great tandem for Ohio State? There are a number of great players from Ross Homan to Andrew Sweat to Etienne Sabino at the linebacker position ready to take over and prove that they are a part of the legacy at Linebacker U.

* Portions Courtesy of


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