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(Courtesy University of Houston Athletics)

Midlothian Heritage grad Jack Freeman receives 5 preseason awards; doubles community service ahead of Big 12 debut

Ellis County Sports report

HOUSTON – If a superlative award watchlist exists for an NCAA Division-I offensive lineman, University of Houston senior Jack Freeman is almost assuredly listed. 

The Midlothian Heritage product has found placement on the Athlon Sports Preseason All-Big 12 Conference team, The Wueffel Trophy Watch List, Riminton Trophy Watch List, the Allstate AFCA Goodworks Team nominee and the East-West Shrine Bowl 1,000. Yet, the 6-foot-3, 300-pound Freeman is just as impressive, if not more so, off the field. 

But first — the accolades. 

The Rimington Trophy Watchlist celebrates the nation’s top 40 centers. 

According to a UofH Athletics press release, the Rimington Trophy committee worked with ProFootballFocus to narrow its list to 40 centers. PFF grades every player on every play of every game on how well they execute their given assignment. That play-by-play grading allowed the Trophy committee to create a watchlist based on school nominations and data provided by PFF.

Freeman has appeared in 42 games (25 starts) and allowed just one sack in his final 12 games a season ago (539 opportunities). He also ranked third in the American Athletic Conference in run block grade (71.6) among centers per PFF while paving the way for Houston to average 36.1 points per game (16th nationally) and 25th nationally in total offense (455.8) in 2022.

Freeman, who enters his sixth season with the Cougars, has been a mainstay in the community for the Cougars, including most recently using his personal experience to help a bullied youngster by delivering a VIP experience and day to remember this summer.

The two-time All-American Athletic Conference All-Academic Team-honoree received his Bachelor of Science in Fitness & Sports from Houston during the fall of 2022, finishing his undergraduate career with a 3.0+ GPA.

Freeman has actively participated in addressing the Lions Club and supporting their community service efforts. Through the Midlothian Youth Football League, he has engaged with players and coaches, emphasizing the values of mentorship while addressing bullying and prioritizing mental health, among other key messages.

Freeman, who was recently named Houston’s Allstate AFCA Goodworks Team nominee, has volunteered at a Dallas VA hospital, working to understand the mental health challenges faced. He also dedicated time in Houston at a local elementary school, playing games and reading books while working to empower students to pursue dreams with confidence. 

As for the two trophy-related watchlists, the Rimington Trophy is presented annually to the most outstanding center in NCAA Division I College Football. Since its inception, the award has raised over $5 million for the Boomer Esiason Foundation. Dave Rimington, the award’s namesake, was a consensus first-team All-America center at the University of Nebraska in 1981 and 1982, during which time he became the John Outland Trophy’s only two-time winner as the nation’s finest college interior lineman.

The Wuerffel Trophy is named after Danny Wuerffel, the 1996 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from the University of Florida who parlayed his success on the football field into a lifetime of service. The Wuerffel Trophy embodies Danny’s commitment to being a humanitarian while honoring student-athletes who are inspired to serve others and positively impact society.

Nominations for the Wuerffel Trophy close Oct. 16. An up-to-date list of nominees can be found at wuerffeltrophy.org. Semifinalists for the award will be announced Nov. 2, and finalists will be unveiled Nov. 28. The formal announcement of the 2023 recipient is scheduled to be made on Dec. 7 or Dec. 8 during The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN. The presentation of the 2023 Wuerffel Trophy will take place Feb. 17, 2024, at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

UP NEXT

Freeman and the University of Houston kickoff their season against UTSA on Saturday, Sept. 2 at 6 p.m. 

The program will host a Big 12 Celebration to recognize its official entry into the conference at home Saturday, Sept. 16, against reigning College Football Playoff finalist TCU. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. at TDECU in Houston. 

About Travis M. Smith

Travis M. Smith is the owner and content director of Ellis County Sports and has over a decade of award-winning sports coverage. He most recently served as the digital sports director for KBEC 1390AM/99.1FM. He is the former managing editor of the Waxahachie Daily Light, Midlothian Mirror and Glen Rose Reporter.

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