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Five things you might not know about Royce Freeman

Henry Chisholm Avatar
April 28, 2018

Royce Freeman was the third player drafted by the Broncos in 2018. He’s a big running back from Oregon who scored 64 touchdowns in four years as a Duck and accounted for nearly 6500 yards from scrimmage.

Those are some big numbers, but you’ve probably heard them before.

Here are five things you might not have heard about Royce Freeman:


Freeman was a prodigal athletic specimen when he was growing up in Imperial, California. He’s been a blue chip prospect since middle school, when he was a 5-foot-9, 175 pound 13-year-old who the high school football coach mistook for a junior college player.

He was a big, muscular kid with wheels, but he was too big to play football with kids his age, so his parents held him out from fifth grade until his freshman year. When Freeman returned to the gridiron, he quickly earned a job as the varsity team’s starting running back.

By the time he graduated, Freeman was a four-star recruit, and a top-10 running back prospect in his class, with scholarship offers from most of the nation’s elite football programs. He burst onto the scene at the University of Oregon as a true freshman and never looked back.

And the freakish nature of Freeman’s athleticism hasn’t gone away: Last summer he squatted 600 pounds.


Freeman’s college roommate, defensive back Arrion Springs, is a big Champions League fan and exposed Freeman to the sport when they moved in together. Now Freeman is a hardcore FIFA Player entrenched in the tactics of the world’s most popular sport.

His favorite player? Gareth Bale.

“He’s a lefty, so he’s a little bit different,” Freeman told ESPN’s Chantel Jennings. “He switches it up. I like the intensity he plays with. He plays for Real [Madrid]. It’s hard to get shine there. You’ve got Ronaldo and all those guys. And his national team, in my opinion, is not very good. But, he’s a star. He can pull it from long range. In UEFA, he scored a couple goals on free kicks from range. That was pretty impressive.”


In the NFL, bell-cow backs need to show up every weekend. Luckily for the Broncos, Freeman did exactly that for most of his days at Oregon.

During his sophomore season, Freeman accounted for at least 100 yards from scrimmage in every single game, including a 292-yard, three-touchdown performance against Washington State.

Injuries plagued Freeman during his junior season, but he bounced back his senior year with nine games of at least 120 rushing yards and four of at least 150.

When Freeman carried the ball at least 20 times in a game, he ran for over 100 yards in 21 games and under 100 just twice.


Star football players typically don’t play special teams. It just isn’t worth the injury risk.

So how did Freeman spend his free time during special teams reps during his senior season at Oregon? By going through blocking drills with the offensive line.

In addition to improving his pass blocking chops, he believes that working with the offensive line sharpens other aspects of his game.

“I take it upon myself to be with my o-line and develop a better chemistry and learn what they’re doing,” Freeman told The Oregonian’s Andrew Greif. “It’s going to help me develop my game overall. Thinking about taking my game to the next level, thinking about how the defense is working, how they’re thinking.”


Von Miller is a dancer. Royce Freeman is not.

When Freeman scores a touchdown, he simply hands the ball to a referee and heads back to the sideline more often than not. Maybe he’ll give a few high fives to his linemen on the way. And if you scroll through his Twitter feed, you’ll find that its filled with retweets about his teammates.

Before the 2016 season, Freeman wrote a story for The Players’ Tribune. He includes this gem that perfectly sums up his personality:

“While it’s fun to make big plays, you know what gets me the most juiced? When guys who usually don’t get playing time go out there and make plays. That’s really exciting for me. Knowing those guys, knowing how hard they’ve worked to get a shot — it’s heartwarming.”


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