UW coaches say Freeman is the best all-around running back in the nation.
As a true freshman in 2014, Oregon running back Royce Freeman had 29 carries for 169 yards and four touchdowns against Washington.
Last year at Husky Stadium, Freeman rushed for 138 yards against the Huskies en route to second-team all-America honors as a sophomore.
It’s safe to assume, then, that slowing the 5-foot-11, 230-pound Freeman will be the top priority for Washington’s defense Saturday in Eugene.
“Yeah,” UW co-defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski said, “he’s an awesome running back. He’s big, physical. He had a 75-yarder against Washington State, so he’s got enough speed to go the distance. (Christian) McCaffrey is the probably the best all-round football player (in the Pac-12), because he can do so many things, but just as a pure running back — it’s Freeman. He’s the prototype. He’s good.”
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Freeman was injured early in Oregon’s loss at Nebraska on Sept. 17 and missed the next week’s game, a loss at home to Colorado. He returned Saturday night against Washington State and had 138 yards and three TDs in the Ducks’ 51-33 loss.
“I’m calling it right now: You will hear this guy’s name probably (as) the first running back taken (in the NFL draft),” UW co-defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake said. “He’s a decade running back — he’ll play 10, 12 years in the NFL. This guy is a big-time player.”
Freeman ranks second in the Pac-12, behind Stanford’s McCaffrey, with 115.8 yards per game. His 8.3 yards per carry ranks third behind Arizona’s Brandon Dawkins (8.9) and UW’s Lavon Coleman (8.8).
UW held McCaffrey to just 49 yards on 12 carries in Friday night.