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Lee County OL Freeman commits to La.-Lafayette

Lee County’s Jesse Freeman poses on the Louisiana-Lafayette practice field after a camp two weeks ago. On Thursday, Freeman verbally committed to the Division I school.

Lee County’s Jesse Freeman poses on the Louisiana-Lafayette practice field after a camp two weeks ago. On Thursday, Freeman verbally committed to the Division I school.

LEESBURG — Lee County star quarterback Stephen Collier exploded onto the national stage this summer, turning into one of the most coveted QBs in the country and eventually signing with Ohio State.

Now one of the guys protecting him is heading to a Division I program, too.

On Thursday, Lee County senior right tackle Jesse Freeman committed to Louisiana-Lafayette, just the latest step in an incredible rise for the 6-foot-4, 310 pounder who has been improving each year he has stepped on the field in a Trojans uniform.

“The thing about Jesse,” Lee County coach Dean Fabrizio began, “is that every year there has been big improvement. There was a big improvement between his sophomore and junior years, but then he really stood out between his junior season and spring practice this year. That’s when a lot of Division I schools started to take notice.”

Freeman, who graded out at 87 percent as a junior and had 37 pancake blocks, had offers on the table from Louisiana-Lafayette, Alabama-Birmingham, Middle Tennessee, Troy and Georgia State.

A summer camp less than two weeks ago at Louisiana-Lafayette was all he needed to finalize his decision.

“When we started the camp I had a really good feeling about the place,” Freeman said. “I really liked the program they had. They are a winning team and are on a nice winning streak. I liked the way they will push me to my limits and make me a better player overall.”

Ragin’ Cajun coaches have told Freeman that he will likely sit out one year before seeing any playing time, and Fabrizio believes Freeman’s pass blocking has the potential to make a serious impact on a program that has gone 9-4 the last two seasons with back-to-back victories in the New Orleans Bowl.

“Jesse is a big kid with tremendous upside,” Fabrizio said. “He is really, really a top-level pass blocker. That is his greatest strength, and he has the ability to be a great run blocker, too. He just has a tremendous upside.”

Freeman played on the freshman and junior varsity teams his first two years at Lee County before debuting as the starting right tackle on varsity as a junior.

He will play right tackle again this season but will likely play right guard in college because of his size.