Steelers 2014 NFL Draft Player Profiles – Florida State RB Devonta Freeman
Good friend Dave-Te’ Thomas of Scouting Services has finished his player profiles of several of the top 2014 NFL Draft prospects and over the course of the next few weeks I will be posting the ones that the Pittsburgh Steelers will more than likely have interest in. While he hasn’t been brought in for a pre draft visit, Florida State running back Devonta Freeman is a player that the Steelers showed interest in at his Pro Day. Here is his profile to examine. Thomas has done these profiles for the NFL for several years and I know that many of you enjoy reading them.
Florida State University Seminoles
Miami Central High School
An abundance of riches from their recruiting classes filled the Seminoles’ backfield with four-star prospects, preventing Freeman from earning the national recognition that others on their offense attained during their national championship season. Talk to the coaching staff, however, and they will tell you that Freeman’s performance running out of the backfield was just as crucial as the passes completed by Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston and the receptions recorded by 6:05 receiver Kelvin Benjamin.
During their march to the national title, nobody could understate Freeman’s contribution, even if he did it in an unheralded fashion. He only toted the pigskin 173 times, but produced 1,016 yards on the ground, becoming Florida State’s first 1,000-yard rusher since Warrick Dunn accomplished that feat in 1996. That also marked just the eighth time in school history that a Seminole rushed for 1,000 yards, becoming the sixth player to accomplish that feat (Dunn had three 1,000-yard seasons).
Freeman would lead the team in rushing during both his freshman and junior campaigns, becoming the fifteenth player since Florida State began playing football in 1947 to pace the offense in multiple seasons. While accomplishing that feat, he became a regular visitor to the end zone, as his thirty rushing touchdowns are tied for third on the school career-record list. Despite recording an average of only 10.36 carries per game, his 2,255 yards rushing tied for eighth in FSU history.
Growing up in South Florida, most youngsters dream of playing football at the University of Miami, but with Warrick Dunn serving as the role model for the then 5:08 Miami Central High School product, Freeman had visions of “heading north” to play for Florida State. He even graduated early from Miami Central to enroll at FSU in January, 2011, having signed his national letter of intent to attend the university prior to his final prep season.
At Miami Central High School, Freeman was a consensus four-star recruit. Rivals.com regarded him as the tenth-best running back in the nation, placing him 22nd on their Florida Top 100 and 108th on the Rivals250 lists. Scout.com considered him to be the ninth-best running back in high school. Freeman actually did not emerge to the elite ranks until his senior season, gaining 545 yards with two touchdowns on seventy carries while backing up present Kentucky tailback Brandon Gainer in 2009.
With Gainer moving on to college, Freeman had a breakout performance in 2010, scoring 26 times behind 259 attempts for 2.208 yards (8.5 ypc). ESPN’s 15th-ranked running back helped lead Miami Central to the 2010 Class 6A state title and was named the MVP after gaining 308 yards on 36 carries – falling just 20 yards shy of a state championship game record.
Freeman recorded 663 rushing yards and six touchdowns in the final two games of the state playoffs, receiving first-team All-Dade recognition from The Miami Herald. He was also a member of the Times-Union’s Florida Super 75 squad, where he was rated as the fourth-best running back, along with ranking 24th on the Super Prep Elite Top 50 and fourth on the Super Prep Florida 110 lists.
Freeman joined Florida State University in time to compete during 2011 spring drills, having turned down scholarship offers from Alabama, Florida International, Georgia, Marshall, Miami, Minnesota and Central Florida. His early arrival proved to be very beneficial for the Seminoles, as it allowed him time to acclimate and be better prepared to play, if needed.
Freeman just did not anticipate that time would come so soon. When starter Chris Thompson suffered a bone fracture in his back vs. Wake Forest in 2011, Freeman was thrust into the lineup, leading the team with 579 yards and eight touchdowns on 120 carries (4.83 ypc) through seven starting assignments. That total ranks fifth on the school season-record chart for freshman. He also became the fifth freshman in FSU annals to record back-to-back 100-yard rushing games (Duke and Maryland) and the first to do so since 1988.
Freeman shared tailback duties when Chris Thompson returned to action in 2012, starting five times while finishing second to Thompson with 660 yards on 111 attempts (5.95 ypc), as he recorded eight touchdowns for the second-straight season. Most of that production came in the second half of the schedule when Thompson was again sidelined by injuries.
As a junior, Freeman convincingly beat out James Wilder, Jr. to be the Seminoles’ featured ball carrier. He started all fourteen games for the first time during his career and responded with FSU’s first 1,000-yard rushing campaign in seventeen years. He also found the end zone fourteen times via his 1,016 yards on the ground, scoring again while hauling in a career-high 22 passes for 278 yards.
On January 11th, 2014, five days after his 73 yards and late second quarter touchdown run rallied the Seminoles to a 34-31 win over Auburn in the BCS title clash, Freeman wasa one of four Florida State underclassmen to announce that he was not returning to school for his senior year and would enter the 2014 NFL Draft.
Freeman appeared in 39 games during three seasons at Florida State, starting 26 contests,
Including his final nineteen appearances…Recorded 2,255 yards with thirty touchdowns on 404 carries (5.58 ypc) and made 47 catches for 475 yards (10.11 ypc), including one touchdown…Posted three tackles and scored 186 points while compiling 2,730 all-purpose yards, an average of 70.00 yards per game…School Career-Record Results…Freeman tied
Amp Lee (1989-91) for third in school history with thirty touchdown runs, topped by only Greg Allen (44; 1981-84) and Warrick Dunn (37; 1993-96) on the all-time list…His 2,255 yards rushing tied Antone Smith (2005-08) for eighth-best in Florida State annals…The junior became the fifteenth player in school history to lead the team in rushing during multiple seasons (579 in 2011 and 1,016 in 2013).
Freeman became the first player since 1996 to gain 1,000 yards in a season for the Seminoles (1,016 in 2013), as that figure placed him seventh on the school season-record chart. The only Florida State players to ever rush for 1,000 yards in a season were Warrick Dunn (1,242 in 1995; 1,180 in 1996; 1,026 in 1994); Sammie Smith (1,230 in 1987); Greg Allen (1,134 in 1983); Larry Key (1,117 in 1977) and Mark Lyles (1,011 in 1979)…His 579 yards rushing in 2011 rank fifth on the school season-record chart for freshman…His eight touchdown runs in both 2011 and 2012 tied for 17th on the FSU annual chart, while his fourteen touchdowns in 2013 rank fifth, topped by Greg Allen (20 in 1982); Amp Lee (16 in 1990); Dayne Williams (15 in 1987) and Antone Smith (15 in 2008).
Freeman started all fourteen games, as the Seminoles first 1,000-yard rusher since 1996 earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team honors from the league’s coaches and media…Led the team for the second time during his career (just the 15th player to do so in multiple campaigns for FSU) with 1,016 yards rushing, which rank seventh on the school season-record chart…Averaged 5.87 yards on 173 carries and ran for fourteen touch-downs, the fifth-best season total by a Seminole…Caught a career-high 22 passes for 278 yards and another touchdown, scoring 90 points…Recorded one solo tackle and gained 1,294 all-purpose yards, an average of 92.43 yards per game…Headlined Florida State’s three-headed running back attack, as his average of 72.57 yards per game on the ground was fourth-best in the conference…Produced three 100-yard rushing performances, including back-to-back ventures to the century mark, as he tallied 109 yards on only nine attempts that included a 6-yard score vs. Nevada, followed the next week by ten carries for 112 yards and a 1-yard touchdown plunge vs. Bethune-Cookman…Capped a 9-play, 80-yard march with a 5-yard touchdown vs. Maryland and delivered 84 yards on 21 tries with a 2-yard score vs. Clemson…Scored twice on runs of 11 and 4-yards vs. North Carolina State and again on totes of 5- and 12-yards en route to totaling 78 yards on 23 chances vs. Miami, adding 98 yards on six catches that included a 48-yard touchdown…Rushed eleven times for 129 yards and a career-long 60-yard touchdown vs. Idaho…Scored late in the second quarter to spark FSU’s rally in a 34-31 defeat of Auburn for the national title, finishing with eleven carries for 73 yards.
Freeman played in thirteen games, spending the first eight contests backing up Chris Thompson, but when the starter was injured, Freeman went on to start the final five games…Ranked second on the team with 111 carries for 660 yards (5.95 ypc) and eight touchdowns…Snared ten passes for 86 yards, recorded a solo tackle and picked up 746 all-purpose yards, an average of 57.38 yards per game…Ran for 70 yards on 10 carries with two touchdowns in the second half of FSU’s win at Miami, following Thompson’s first half injury…Had a pair of 100-yard rushing performances, going for 104 on 12 attempts vs. Duke and a career-high 148 on 16 totes at Maryland, when the `Noles clinched the ACC Atlantic Division title…Produced two rushing touchdowns in three games (Miami, Duke and Maryland)…His 3-yard touchdown run vs. Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship game put the Seminoles out in front to stay, as he finished with 59 yards on 13 carries, including a game-high 21-yard jaunt.
Freeman earned Freshman All-American third-team honors from The NFL Draft Report, as he started the team’s final seven games when Chris Thompson went down with a broken back in the Wake Forest game…Put up the fifth-most rushing yards (579) by a true fresh-man running back in school history, joining the likes of Greg Allen (1981), Roosevelt Snipes (1983), Travis Minor (1997) and Larry Key (1974) as he led FSU in rushing attempts (120), yards (579), average per rush (4.83 ypc), rushing touchdowns (eight) and yards rushing per game (48.25 ypg)…Ranked sixth on the team with fifteen receptions, gaining 111 yards (7.4 ypc), in addition to posting a solo tackle and generating 690 all-purpose yards, an average of 57.5 yards per game…Recorded a rushing touchdown in six of the twelve games he played in, including two games with multiple rushing scores…Became just the fifth freshman in school history to run for 100 yards in consecutive games (19 carries for 109 yards and a 10-yard score vs. Duke and eleven attempts for 100 yards and a 41-yard touchdown vs. Maryland) and was the first freshman to post back-to-back 100 rushing yard games since 1988…Led the team in rushing in seven of the last nine games of the season…Appeared in his first career game as a Seminole vs. Louisiana-Monroe and rushed seven times for 25 yards and scored his first collegiate touchdown on a one-yard run in the third quarter…Carried 13 times for 48 yards in the win vs. Notre Dame in the Champs Sports Bowl…Earned one of six freshman academic awards for his work in the classroom and voted a Top Newcomer on offense at the team’s annual banquet.
Freeman has never missed any playing time due to injuries during both his high school and college careers.
4.58 in the 40-yard dash…1.63 10-yard dash…2.64 20-yard dash…4.26 20-yard shuttle…7.11 three-cone drill…31 ½-inch vertical jump…9’-8” broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 17 times…29 3/8-inch arm length…9 5/8-inch hands…72 5/8-inch wingspan.
Freeman attended Miami (Fla.) Central High School, sharing tailback duties until becoming a full-time starter as a senior…Consensus four-star recruit…Rivals.com regarded him as the tenth-best running back in the nation, placing him 22nd on their Florida Top 100 and 108th on the Rivals250 lists…Scout.com considered him to be the ninth-best running back in high school…Did not emerge to the elite ranks until his senior season, gaining 545 yards with two touchdowns on seventy carries while backing up present Kentucky tailback Brandon Gainer in 2009…Had a breakout performance in 2010, scoring 26 times behind 259 attempts for 2.208 yards (8.5 ypc)…ESPN’s 15th-ranked running back helped lead Miami Central to the 2010 Class 6A state title and was named the MVP after gaining 308 yards on 36 carries – falling just 20 yards shy of a state championship game record…He recorded 663 rushing yards and six touchdowns in the final two games of the state play-offs, receiving first-team All-Dade recognition from The Miami Herald…Member of the Times-Union’s Florida Super 75 squad, where he was rated as the fourth-best running back, along with ranking 24th on the Super Prep Elite Top 50 and fourth on the Super Prep Florida 110 lists.
Freeman is majoring in Sports Administration…Born 3/15/92 in Miami, Florida.