RICHARDSON – University of Mary Hardin-Baylor graduate and national football award winner Jerrell Freeman will be formally inducted into the American Southwest Conference Hall of Honor on Thursday (Feb. 12) at ceremonies during halftime of the UMHB vs. Texas-Tyler men’s basketball game.
Freeman is the first of the ASC Hall of Honor Class of 2014-15 members to be inducted during February presentations, joining Kendra Anderson Hassell, Mei Daniels and the 2007-08 Howard Payne women’s basketball team. The American Southwest Conference Hall of Honor recognizes outstanding former student-athletes, coaches, administrators and teams who brought pride and honor to the conference through their contributions.
An all-conference and all-America honoree at UMHB, Freeman is the first football student-athlete in American Southwest Conference history to earn national defensive player of the year honors and to continue on to a successful full-time playing career in two professional football leagues.
Freeman was tabbed by D3football.com as its 2007 National and South Region Defensive Player of the Year. In that season, Freeman totaled 112 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, six sacks and seven pass break-ups while leading a UMHB defense that established ASC season records with 55 sacks and 29 interceptions. UMHB won the ASC championship and advanced to the NCAA Division III Championship semifinals.
The American Football Coaches Association and D3football.com each named Freeman to its all-America and all-region lists in both his junior and senior seasons (2006, ’07). He was the D3football.com South Region Defensive Player of the Year in 2006 and 2007. Freeman was three times voted to the All-ASC First-Team (2005, ’06, ’07) and capped his conference career with selection as the 2007 ASC Defensive Player of the Year.
Freeman’s on-field successes and postseason accolades earned him recognition as the 2007-08 American Southwest Conference Male Athlete of the Year, the league’s highest student-athlete honor.
During his collegiate career, Freeman was a member of three ASC championship teams and made four appearances in the NCAA Division III Football Championship. He was a member of both the 2004 Stagg Bowl team that finished as national runner-up and the 2007 national semifinalist team.
Freeman became the first UMHB player to sign a professional contract when he inked a free-agent deal to play in the National Football League with the Tennessee Titans. Freeman went on to a three-year playing career with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Canadian Football League where he earned all-league honors and played in two Grey Cup games. In January 2012, Freeman signed as a free-agent with the Indianapolis Colts, earning a regular starting position at linebacker early in the 2012 season. He led the Colts in tackles in each of his first two seasons, setting a franchise record and ranking fifth in the NFL for tackles in a season with 203 in 2012.
While playing with the Indianapolis Colts, Freeman returned to Mary Hardin-Baylor and completed his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in May 2013.