On Saturday, October 22, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor will retire the jersey of Jerrell Freeman during halftime of its homecoming game against Hardin-Simmons University, which begins at 1:00 p.m. in Crusader Stadium on the UMHB campus. This will be the first time the university has honored a player in this way.
“Obviously, we’re very proud of his successes as a football player. He’s a remarkable talent,” Coach Pete Fredenburg said. “The thing that makes him so remarkable, so special, is that he loves Mary Hardin-Baylor, he supports the university, and he carries our name and tradition with him.”
After his successful college career, Freeman went on to be a force in both the Canadian Football League and the NFL. In the spring of 2013, Freeman celebrated a milestone off the field when he returned to UMHB between seasons to finish his college degree.
“I think that’s the way he was raised,” Fredenburg said of Freeman’s academic dedication. “He’s an incredible person, and his family has done a great job raising him.”
Freeman was a four-year letterman for the UMHB football program from 2004-2007. He was the first American Southwest Conference (ASC) player to earn National Player of the Year honors when he was voted D3football.com National Defensive Player of the Year following the 2007 season. Freeman was a two-time All-American, a three-time ASC All-Conference selection and was also named ASC Male Athlete of the Year for the 2007-08 school year. Freeman played for three ASC champions, four NCAA postseason qualifiers, a National Runner-Up and another NCAA Semifinalist during his UMHB career. He finished his college career as the school's all-time leader in tackles.
Freeman signed with the Tennessee Titans as a free-agent before going on to a three-year career with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League. He was an All-Star and played in two Grey Cup games with Saskatchewan before signing with the Indianapolis Colts of the NFL. In four seasons with the Colts, Freeman led the team in tackles twice and was second on the team in that category twice. He signed with the Chicago Bears as an unrestricted free-agent this spring and currently ranks in the top ten in the league in tackles.