Freeman Coleman: Omaha to Santa Monica
“I can’t settle until I’m a Hall of Famer in the NFL.” This is what has driven Freeman Coleman, a 6’2, 295lb defensive lineman, to develop into a dominant force for the Santa Monica College Corsair’s defense.
From an early age Coleman realized that he could go far in football and since then his mindset has been, “I’m not going to stop until I get what I want.” The intrinsic motivation Coleman is essential in his quest for greatness.
At Millard South High School in Omaha, Nebraska, Coleman showcased his tremendous talents as a football player. With the support of his family, Coleman achieved such honors as All State, Super State, and All Team Nebraska, in addition to being an All State wrestler.
As a high school recruit, Coleman was able to garner interest from many schools, including top tier programs such as Kansas State University and University of Illinois, as well as going on visits to the legendary football programs, University of Michigan and University of Nebraska. Despite the attention he received from numerous programs, Coleman was unable to receive any scholarships due to academic issues.
Despite having the opportunity to walk on to a football team at a university, Coleman decided to take his football career in a different direction. Going the community college route and proving to himself that he could make it at a NCAA Division One university seemed a better fit for Coleman.
Initially following his time in high school, Coleman enrolled at Iowa Western College, which at the time was home to one of the best junior college football programs in the nation. However, he did not feel that it was a good fit for him.
“Great program, great team. I just didn’t feel the coaches had my best future interest in mind,” Coleman said.
Following his brief time at IWC, Coleman began to look elsewhere. He started to reach out to programs across the nation in order to find the best fit for him. That’s when he stumbled upon Santa Monica College and head coach Gifford Lindheim.
“Something about coach Giff and the program lured me in and I wanted to come here,” Coleman said.
He had come to the realization that in order to achieve something, he needed to leave home. Coleman knew that this was an opportunity to see how far he could go by himself. Despite having to leave his family, a great source of support and motivation, he knew moving across the country was the right decision.
Coleman began to develop a new sense of family with his teammates. Over the course of Coleman’s time at SMC, they have bonded and now spend most of their days together. Coleman described how they “go out, hang out, eat together, ride around together, practice together extra, and lift together.” The relationships Coleman has built with his teammates have been a strong support during his large transition from a Midwestern state like Nebraska to California.
California has not only provided Coleman with new friends, a new school, and a new place to play football, it has taught him things that cannot be learned in school or on the football field. Coleman specifically credits the diversity in California as being the reason for his new found respect and appreciation of people.
Along with his new perspective, a drastic shift in Coleman’s attitude towards academics occurred. Coleman is enveloped in his business management major. He is diligent about managing his time effectively and knows he needs to dedicate time to studying. If football does not develop into a career, Coleman wishes to pursue becoming a sports agent so that he can still be a part of something he’s loved his entire life.
But Freeman Coleman’s life still revolves around football. He is very dedicated to his craft, and works hard to maintain a consistent level of practice in order to be able to achieve what he desires for himself.
As Coleman has adjusted to California and become more comfortable with his teammates, he has developed into a leader for the defense. He said, “I try to be the best leader I can be for my team. Let them know that I ride with them on and off the field.”
He has become increasingly more vocal with his teammates, trying to instill in them hope and helps them see that they can all be great. Coleman actively tries to assist teammates with understanding schemes as well as teaching them the precise ways of doing things. He is willing to exert such effort so that the team can achieve his vision. “I want my boys to be a wrecking crew, I want my boys to be unstoppable,” says Coleman.
His impact for the Santa Monica Corsairs is by no means limited to his off the field leadership. Coleman plays all positions throughout the defensive line and is effective in run stopping as well as rushing the passer. As a freshman, Coleman had a tremendous season tallying five sacks and earning himself Second Team All-Conference honors.
His achievements last season are in no way satisfying for Coleman, who is hungry for more. “This year I’m going for First Team (All-Conference) and if there is any more I’m gonna knock that out the park as well,” said Coleman.
The loss to Southwestern in last year’s Pacific Division Championship Bowl game still lingers with Coleman. His main goal is to win a championship.
Coleman described the approach the team is taking in order to overcome last year’s loss is revolving around studying film and understanding who they are. Although they are not going to forget about last year, they don’t live off of last year. The team is focused on fulfilling their potential and making sure that they are doing their jobs correct.
The talent and dedication possessed by Coleman have set himself up for success. The opportunity to transfer to a D1 university is readily available. Schools that are interested in him include Colorado State, Fresno State, Ohio University, Texas State, Ball State, and North Carolina State.
In a transfer school, Coleman is mainly looking for, “a great business program, a powerhouse football team and a good location with good people.” More specifically in regards to football, he is looking to stay with a team environment he is familiar with. He would like a dominant coaching staff, a 4-3 defense, and the ability to capitalize on his versatility as a football player by being able to move around to different positions on the defensive line.
Freeman Coleman is a commodity that Santa Monica College is lucky to have on campus. He continues to open doors for himself and is helping bring his bright future closer to fruition.