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It’s been a fruitful summer for Utah State’s football program when it comes to recruiting high school players from the Lone Star State.

For the third time in the past four weeks, a soon-to-be prep senior from Texas has pledged his commitment to the Aggies. Versatile defensive end/outside linebacker Matt Freeman announced intentions of becoming an Aggie earlier this week on Twitter.

“Happy to say I’ve committed to Utah State,” Freeman posted. “I want to thank everyone who’s helped me out with this process and the whole Utah State coaching staff!!”

Freeman was offered a scholarship by USU back in May and also has offers from FCS programs Bucknell and Lafayette College, who both compete in the Patriot League. Additionally, the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder has received quite a bit of attention from SEC program Ole Miss.

Freeman quickly bonded with USU’s new coaching staff and is confident this staff has what it takes to help turn the program around. The Aggies went to eight bowl games in a ninth-year stretch before struggling to a record of 1-5 during the COVID-19 shortened season of 2020.

“Well, with the hire of the new coaching staff, they all are coming from winning backgrounds and are expressing that throughout the entire campus,” Freeman said in an interview with the Herald Journal.

Freeman turned some heads back in May when he was selected as the overall MVP at the EXOS Select 50 Showcase, which took place in Frisco, Texas. The three-sport high school athlete impressed at the defensive line and linebacker positions at this camp, according to an article that on prepredzone.com.

Freeman was recruited by the Aggies as a “hybrid” outside linebacker/defensive end. No. 22 has the size of a relatively big high school linebacker, but also the speed of a skill position athlete, plus he has a very large wingspan.

“My speed and quickness,” Freeman said when asked about his strengths. “At my size and strength, moving the way I do is almost completely unstoppable.”

Freeman also competes in track & field and in basketball at Trinity Christian High School. He ran the 100-meter dash in 11.07 seconds at the very beginning of the 2021 track & field season. That was the only time recorded on athletic.net, but Freeman feels he is capable of completing the 100 in the 10.6 range. His focus was more on the 4x100 and 4x200 relays as a junior.

“My speed I feel like catches everyone off guard,” Freeman said. “The coaches (Monday) when I ran a 40 and they saw (the stopwatch) said 4.39 and 4.44, they were shocked.”

Freeman helped lead Trinity Christian to a record of 8-3 as a junior. The Tigers played several out of state teams, including two from Missouri, two from Arkansas and one apiece from Tennessee, Florida and Washington. The Tigers were able to play a full schedule last fall, which Freeman considered a blessing as several states implemented truncated schedules or cancelled the season entirely due to COVID-19.

“Yeah, we were very excited and knew we were blessed for even being able to play football,” Freeman said.

Prior to last season, Trinity Christian captured three consecutive Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) state titles and went 42-3 during that stretch. Legendary Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders was the offensive coordinator on those three state championship teams and is now the head coach at FCS program Jackson State, which has been recruiting Freeman.

The Cedar Hill-based school will be competing in Texas’ 3A classification this fall, “playing a normal schedule with a few out of state schools,” Freeman said. His primarily goal is to help the Tigers win another state championship.

“There’s nothing like Texas football,” said Freeman, who will also line up at the outside receiver position this fall for the Tigers. “We played a national schedule last year and went everywhere. No one plays football like Texas.”

No statistics for Freeman’s junior season were available on maxpreps, but according to an article in Gridiron Scouting, he contributed with 62 tackles, 6.0 sacks and three forced fumbles a year ago. Freeman saw some varsity action on Trinity Christian’s championship team as a sophomore and was credited with 9.0 tackles, plus recorded a safety, according to maxpreps.

Freeman is the 18th soon-to-be high school senior to commit to USU’s 2022 recruiting class and the fourth from Texas. Having other athletes from his home state will make the transition to college easier for Freeman, and it’s something he’s looking forward to.

“It’ll be nice to be able to relate to some people (at USU),” Freeman said. “I’ve already met some of the players from Texas and that mutual experience is clear as day.”

Jason Turner is a sports reporter for The Herald Journal. He can be reached at jturner@hjnews.com or 435-792-7237.

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