Originally posted on The Colts Authority  |  Last updated 8/8/12

There are a lot of new players on the Colts. At last count, at least 54 players are either new or have a year or less of experience. 

This leads to a lot of moments where I read and update, see a name, and a blank slate just replaces my mind. Never before can I remember mixing up so many names, and being so unfamiliar with a roster. 

The roster is filled with no-names, and it's one of the reasons why the team will likely struggle for large portions of the season. 

However, there is one name that I had never heard before this off-season, that I am very excited for. One name that I'm actually looking forward to having on the roster, instead of having some sort of vague apprehension. 

That name is Jerrell Freeman. 

 Perhaps you've never heard of him. I wouldn't blame you. 

Born in Waco, Texas, the 6' 234 lb. linebacker attended the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor from 2004-2007, a small D-3 Christian university located in Belton, TX. To date, Freeman has been one of the programs most successful players, leaving with the school record for career tackles (311), second in tackles for a loss in a career (48.5), and fifth in career sacks (15). 

After declaring himself eligible for the draft in 2008, Freeman went undrafted, but was snatched up by the Titans directly after the draft, apparently the first graduate of UMHB to be offered an NFL contract. Unfortunately, Freeman's life in the NFL was short lived, and he was cut in training camp. 

Freeman didn't receive any calls throughout the 2008 season, and in March of 2009 he signed a contract with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League. Freeman started his rookie season on special teams, leading the team in special teams tackles. During his sophomore year (2010) he broke into the linebacker rotation, starting several games by the end of the season. Last season he started every game, led the CFL in tackles, and gained several honors as a premier defensive player. 

Then, on January 19, 2011, in Ryan Grigson's first new acquisition as GM, Freeman was signed to a reserve/futures contract with the Colts. 

After watching some highlights of Freeman, I was pleasantly surprised. 

Freeman looked fast, having a quick reaction to both running plays and in coverage, and could even rush the passer in blitz packages. Of course, he was playing in the CFL, so everything must be taken with a HUGE grain of salt, but nevertheless, I was intrigued. 

Now, it's time for Freeman to take the test again, and prove that this time, he can stick in the NFL. 

Sure, he has somethings stacked against him. He's got a lot of miles already for essentially a rookie player. He's not very big, and we don't know if he can handle NFL speed. 

But, it seems like Freeman is making an impact, and I expect him to make the Colts' roster this year, and contribute in an important way. 

Not only will Freeman likely be a special teams ace, but all impressions are that he will play a role in the linebackers' rotation as well. The first unofficial depth chart that was released listed Freeman as second on the depth chart, backing up Pat Angerer as the WILL linebacker in the system. 

Earlier this week, George Bremer of the Herald Bulletin told us that Freeman has also been taking snaps in Kavell Conner's place on the first team, which would hint that the team could be planning on using Freeman as the linebacker for passing downs, for a few reasons: 

  • The team is likely not convinced of Conner's coverage skills, which were pretty non-existent in 2011. Freeman's reaction time (and ability to cover, I just am unsure of it at this point, with little film available of him) may help him be a better option for passing downs. Conner was very good against the run in 2011, but pass coverage was sketchy. 
  • Freeman's ability to rush the passer on linebacker blitzes on third and long will be an asset as well. Conner has not demonstrated that skill as of yet, and Freeman has a history of doing it in the CFL and in college. It seems they are already working on it, with Freeman getting to the quarterback numerous times during Tuesday night's practice in Anderson. 

The versatility to both cover tight ends and running backs out of the backfield, as well as rush the passer on blitzes is a valued one in Greg Manusky's aggressive defense, and one that may just be suited for a guy like Freeman. 

He may just be an ex-CFL'er, but I'll be keeping my eye on him during the preseason. You should be too. 

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Cavs, Pacers talking three-team George trade

In appreciation of Ichiro, the oldest man to play center field since at least 1900

WATCH: Adam Rosales sprints to fastest home run trot record

Report: Pacers not interested in acquiring Kevin Love

Vikings say they encouraged Floyd to drink kombucha tea

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Jason Williams injured in first BIG3 game

Report: Mavs leaning toward two-year deal for Nowitzki

Spieth holes bunker shot to win Travelers Championship playoff

Tebow promoted by Mets to A-Advanced St. Lucia

Cam Newton reveals the one thing his life is missing

George denies he is already moving out of Indiana home

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Kicking it: David Villa isn't interested in a 'retirement tour'

Box Score 6/23: Philly continues to trust the process

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'NBA Draft going back to school?' quiz

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Kicking it: David Villa isn't interested in a 'retirement tour'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker