BELTON – Former University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football player and current National Football League standout Jerrell Freeman has been elected to the American Southwest Conference Hall of Honor for his contributions to UMHB and the ASC. Freeman becomes the second Cru football player selected for induction in the ASC Hall of Honor, joining former UMHB linebacker Preston Meyer.
Freeman was a four-year letterman for the Cru football team as a linebacker from Waco, Texas. He finished his career as UMHB’s career leader in tackles and also posted the second-highest single-season tackle total in school history at the time. Freeman became the first ASC football player to earn National Player of the Year honors when D3football.com tabbed him Defensive Player of the Year following the 2007 season. Freeman was a two-time American Football Coaches Association and D3football.com All-American. He was voted South Region Defensive Player of the Year in both 2006 and 2007 and was also a two-time All-Region selection. Freeman was a three-time ASC All-Conference selection, the 2007 ASC Defensive Player of the Year and also was named the 2007-08 ASC Male Athlete of the Year. Freeman played for three ASC Championship teams during his career and was a member of four NCAA Division III National Championship qualifiers. He played for the Cru’s 2004 National Runner-Up team and UMHB’s 2007 National Semifinalist team. Freeman totaled 311 tackles, 34.5 tackles for loss, 15.0 sacks, six interceptions and four defensive touchdowns in his career with the Cru.
“I am honored to be chosen for induction in the ASC Hall of Honor,” Freeman said. “To be in there with someone like Preston Meyer, another UMHB alum, is a great accomplishment. I enjoyed my time at Mary Hardin-Baylor and I thank my coaches and my teammates who were with me during my career at UMHB.”
Freeman became the first UMHB football player to sign an NFL contract when he agreed to a free-agent deal with the Tennessee Titans in the spring of 2008. He went on to play three seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League, where he earned All-League honors and played in two Grey Cups. Freeman then signed with the Indianapolis Colts in 2012 and is in his third season as a starting linebacker for the team. He led the Colts in tackles in each of his first two seasons and set a franchise record and ranked fifth in the NFL with 203 tackles in 2012. Freeman returned to UMHB following his rookie season with the Colts to finish his degree. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in May of 2013.
“This is a tremendous honor for Jerrell and we are so pleased to have him recognized this way,” UMHB Vice-President for Athletics Randy Mann said. “He has worked so hard to achieve success in the National Football League and has been an incredible ambassador for the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.”
Freeman is joined in the latest class of inductees by the 2007-08 Howard Payne women’s basketball National Championship Team and a pair of former ASC women’s basketball players: Kendra Anderson Hassell of Hardin-Simmons University and Meia Daniels of Howard Payne University. The ASC Hall of Honor Class of 2014-15 represents the fifth group of individuals selected to the Hall and is the first group of inductees since 2006-07. The ASC Hall of Honor recognizes outstanding former student-athletes, coaches and administrators who brought pride and honor to the conference through their contributions. Selection of the ASC Hall of Honor inductees was made by a five-member panel of conference Athletics Directors, Faculty Athletic Representatives and Sports Information Directors.