Dalton Freeman: 5 Things You Need to Know About the Clemson C

Zach Kruse@@zachkruse2Senior Analyst IApril 27, 2013

Dalton Freeman: 5 Things You Need to Know About the Clemson C

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    Clemson center Dalton Freeman will enter the NFL as a coach's son, four-year collegiate starter and one of the most decorated centers of the last two years—both on and off the field. 

    After surviving his father's coaching in high school, Freeman went on to make a school-record 49 starts at Clemson. He secured back-to-back All-ACC honors as a junior and senior while also graduating from school early with honors. 

    Clearly, Freeman is a uniquely qualified candidate for the next level of football.

    Here are the five things you need to know about the former Clemson center.


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    Full Name: Dalton Freeman

    Birthday: June 18, 1990

    Hometown: Pelion, South Carolina

    High School: Pelion

    Major: Communication Studies

    Year: Senior

    Before signing his letter of intent to play for Clemson, Freeman was rated in the top 16 for offensive guards by Scout.com (No. 13), Rivals (No. 13) and ESPN (No. 16). He was a 4-star prospect at each scouting service. 

    According to his Clemson profile, Freeman was a finalist for Mr. Football in South Carolina during his senior season. For his final three years, he was an All-State selection. 


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    Freeman finished his collegiate career tied for the school record in starts (49) and tied for fourth in total games played (53), according to his school profile

    Over that stretch of games, Freeman recorded 171 knockdowns on 3,361 offensive snaps. 

    As a freshman, Freeman played in all 13 games (nine starts) and had 44 knockdowns. He was named a freshman All-American. 

    The next season, Freeman started all 13 games and made 58 knockdowns. He allowed just two sacks. 

    National accolades started coming Freeman's way during his junior season, when he made 14 starts and tallied 41 knockdowns. The media made him a finalist for the Rimington Trophy (nation's best center) and a First Team All-ACC selection. 

    The recognition continued through his senior year. Over 13 starts, Freeman made 28 knockdowns. He was named a Second Team All-American and First Team All-ACC, along with an inclusion as a finalist for the Rimington trophy.

    2009 13 9 547 44
    2010 13 13 811 58
    2011 14 14 1,044 41
    2012 13 13 959 28
    Total 53 49 3,361 171

Draft Process

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    Height: 6'5"

    Weight: 291 lbs.

    Arm Length: N/A 

    Hand Size: N/A

    Pro Day Results

    40-Yard Dash: 4.88

    Bench Press: 34 reps at 225 lbs.

    Broad Jump: 9'6"

    Vertical Jump: 32"

    Three-Cone Drill: 7.60

    Short Shuttle: 4.50

    Somewhat surprisingly, Freeman did not receive an invite to the 2013 NFL combine in Indianapolis.

    In early March, however, he put together a fine collection of workout numbers at Clemson's pro day, including a faster-than-expected 40 time and strong numbers in the bench press and jumps. 

    Measurements and pro day results courtesy of nfldraftscout.com.

Interesting Facts

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    According to his Clemson profile, Freeman became the first center in school history to be selected First Team All-ACC in two separate seasons. He was also the first Clemson center to be a two-time finalist for the Rimington Trophy, given to the nation's best at the position.

    In addition to on-the-field recognition, Freeman was also a decorated student athlete. He was a three-time Academic All-ACC selection and four-time ACC Academic Honor Roll member.

    He graduated with honors in December 2011.

    In high school, Freeman won the Carolina Panthers Community Captain award, which is given to a football player from North or South Carolina who "demonstrated strong leadership skills on and off the field and encourages these individuals to continue to be leaders and role models in their communities."

    Freeman was coached in high school by his father Ben, who was an offensive lineman during his collegiate years in the ACC.

    According to his profile, Clemson coaches graded out his in-game performance at 85 percent or better in at least seven games during his junior season.


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    CBS Sports was hard on Freeman, considering him a seventh-round pick or priority free agent. Dane Brugler provided this detailed scouting report:

    POSITIVES: Sets up quickly off the snap with good athleticism for the position. Utilizes angles well and understands how to use body position to his advantage. Smart and the leader of a young offensive line in 2012 for Clemson. It doesn't always look pretty, but more often than not, he gets the job done. Strong resume as a four-year starter, recording 48 starts over his Clemson career.

    NEGATIVES: Lacks a stout frame and plays light in the pants. Not a glass-eater and plays a tad passive at times. Needs to get stronger and add bulk to his frame to better sustain at the point of attack, but doesn't appear to have the body type to carry 300-plus pounds. Base strength is a question mark as he can be often moved from his spot. Plays a bit tight and needs to stay comfortable in his stance, popping too tall off the snap at times.

    Meanwhile, nfldraftscout.com rates Freeman as the eighth-best center in the draft. His stock is deemed to be on the rise.