SEC: Eltoro Freeman

Auburn's Pro Day results

March, 7, 2012
Ten former Auburn players worked out at the Tigers' Pro Day Tuesday.

Though offensive lineman Brandon Mosley figures to have the highest draft stock of any of the former Auburn football players, Tuesday served as one of the last chances for players to impress pro scouts before April's NFL draft.

Mosley, who participated in the NFL combine in Indianapolis, didn't go through drills Tuesday, but did measure in at 6-5 1/2 and 311 pounds. That's actually half an inch shorter and three pounds lighter than what he measured in at in Indy.

Linebacker Eltoro Freeman was clocked with a fastest 40-yard dash time of 4.7, which would have put him right outside of the top 10 for linebackers at the combine. He also put up 28 reps of 225 on the bench press, which would have tied him for fifth at the combine for linebackers. He sported an impressive vertical jump (36.5), though his 60-yard shuffle time was 11.74.

"I felt great," Freeman said Tuesday. "I felt like I came out and tested well. It’s just a blessing for me to be living my dream. I’m going to cherish every moment of this."

Defensive back Neiko Thorpe also worked out and posted a 4.4 in the 40, which would have tied him for third for defensive backs at the combine and his vertical of 38.0 would have tied him for fourth. However, Thorpe did slip during the 60-yard shuffle, posting a time of 11.87 and put up only four reps on bench press.

Still, he was happy with his day.

"I felt like I did good," he said. "I felt like I took advantage of the opportunity. Of course, like any athlete, I felt like there were a lot of areas I really wanted to do better in. Overall, I felt like I did really good."

Quarterback Barrett Trotter also took part in the festivities. He ran a 4.82 in the 40 and had a 34.0 in the vertical jump. Both would have been top-10 performances at the combine.

Here's a look at how all 10 participants did Tuesday:

You can check out more quotes and see photos from Pro Day on Auburn's official team website.
We move to linebackers today in our postseason position rankings.

Defensive lines are very important in this league, but there are other guys in the box who have to be pretty reliable as well in this league. This league has done a pretty solid job of producing some top talent at this position as well.

You can see what are preseason linebacker rankings looked like here.

And here are our postseason rankings:

[+] EnlargeDont'a Hightower
Marvin Gentry/US PresswireDont'a Hightower had career highs in tackles (79), sacks (3.0) and interceptions (1) this season.
1. Alabama: This unit was at the top of our preseason rankings and didn't budge throughout the season. When you have two All-Americans in Courtney Upshaw, who was the defensive MVP in the Allstate BCS National Championship Game, and Dont'a Hightower it's pretty understandable to see why. Those two combined for 136 tackles, including 29 for loss. Nico Johnson was fourth on the team in tackles, while C.J. Mosley added 37 of his own. Alabama's defense was first nationally in total defense and first in rushing defense, allowing 74.2 yards per game.

2. Georgia: Linebackers are essential to any 3-4 defense, and the Bulldogs' group did quite well in 2011. Georgia ended up with one of the nation's best linebackers in Jarvis Jones, who led the SEC with 19 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks. He also had 49 quarterback hurries. Michael Gilliard was third on the team behind Jones with 65 tackles. While Alec Ogletree missed part of the first half of the season, the speedster still finished with 52 tackles, including 7.5 for loss. Cornelius Washington, Amarlo Herrera Christian Robinson combined to add 101 more tackles, as Georgia's defense ranked fifth nationally.

3. Arkansas: Arkansas' defense had a lot of bend in it last season, but the linebackers found ways to make plays. Newcomer Alonzo Highsmith was third on the team with 80 tackles, led with 12.5 tackles for loss and had 4.5 sacks. The star continued to be Jerry Franklin, who led the team in tackles (101) for the fourth straight year. Then there was Jerico Nelson, who was all over the field as that hybrid linebacker/safety. He came away with 70 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions. Ross Rasner, who played outside with Nelson, added 53 more tackles and two sacks.

4. Florida: The Gators' defense ranked eighth nationally in part because of the aggressive play of its front seven. Jon Bostic commanded the middle, leading the team with 94 tackles, including 10 for loss. Jelani Jenkins seemed to come more into his own outside, finishing third on the team in tackles. The big surprise was Lerentee McCray, who played both Sam linebacker and the hybrid Buck. He was one of Florida's most active linebackers and grabbed 7.5 tackles for loss. Ronald Powell started at the Buck, but saw most of his production from defensive end.

5. Vanderbilt: The Commodores entered the season needing to replace three starting linebackers and ended the year with a very impressive linebacking corps. It was led by vet Chris Marve, who was 10th in the league in tackles. Archibald Barnes had a solid year at the Will, ranking fourth on the team in tackles and grabbing two interceptions. Chase Garnham and Al Owens manned the Sam position and combined for 72 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss. Against conference foes, Vandy's rush defense ranked fourth in the league.

6. LSU: The Tigers were in search of that dominant middle linebacker all season and might have found a budding star in Kevin Minter, really grew into the position by the end of the season and was fifth on the team in tackles. He started 11 games, but shared time with Karnell Hatcher, who finished with 24 tackles. Ryan Baker was LSU's best linebacker, was an outstanding leader and was fourth on the team with 64 tackles. Stefoin Francois was the starter at Sam, but he accumulated just 11 tackles, while backup Tahj Jones registered 27. Still, LSU owned the No. 2 national defense.

7. South Carolina: The Gamecocks saw improvement from this group as the season went on. While the defensive line got a ton of credit, the linebackers did their part in securing the defense's No. 3 national ranking. Antonio Allen spent some time in the box at the Spur position and led South Carolina with 88 tackles and had 9.5 for loss. Rodney Paulk and Shaq Wilson, who returned from injury, rotated at the Mike and combined for 109 tackles. Will linebacker Reginald Bowens added 44 tackles.

8. Kentucky: The Wildcats owned the SEC's top tackler in Danny Trevathan (143), who should have received more national attention. Trevathan was one of the most active defenders around at the Will. Winston Guy played the hybrid linebacker/safety and was third in the SEC with 120 tackles. Ronnie Sneed added 71 more tackles. Kentucky's defense was much more aggressive under new defensive coordinator Rick Minter and got more exotic looks from its linebackers.

9. Mississippi State: Cameron Lawrence was a beast for the Bulldogs in 2011. He was second in the SEC with 123 tackles, and had 49 solo. Senior Brandon Wilson added 94 more tackles. Brandon Maye, who transferred from Clemson, was expected to make a bigger impact for the Bulldogs, but played behind Wilson and was 11th on the team in tackles. Sophomore Deontae Skinner added 69 tackles and Mississippi State ranked in the bottom half of the SEC in total defense.

10. Tennessee: The Vols' top three tacklers were linebackers. The leader was senior Austin Johnson, who finished the season with 81 tackles, including 41 solo. Next were two true freshmen on the outside in A.J. Johnson (80) and Curt Maggitt (56). Both freshmen experienced up-and-down seasons, but were SEC All-Freshman selections. Herman Lathers, who was a projected started, missed 2011 with a fractured ankle, and after the big three, the Vols didn't get a ton out of their linebackers, as Dontavis Sapp was their next most productive linebacker with 20 tackles.

11. Auburn: The Tigers' defense really struggled in 2011 and gave up more than 200 rushing yards a contest. Auburn had to basically start over at linebacker, but lone returning starter Daren Bates had a heck of a year, ranking fourth in the league with 104 tackles. He really tried to make sure he played all over the field last fall. After that, the play was up-and-down. Senior Eltoro Freeman took over in the middle halfway into the year and finished with 58 tackles, while Jake Holland and Jonathan Evans combined for 83 tackles.

12. Ole Miss: The Rebels' defense had all sorts of problems defensively, including allowing 256.5 yards per game and 21 rushing touchdowns. The linebackers took a major hit with the absence of D.T. Shackelford, who missed the season with a knee injury. Mike Marry stepped up at the Mike and led Ole Miss with 81 tackles and five for loss. Freshman Serderius Bryant and junior Joel Kight combined for 122 tackles. Damien Jackson played the Spur and added 64 tackles, but Ole Miss' defense ranked dead last in the SEC.

Lunchtime links

October, 11, 2011
Taking a stroll through the SEC with some links.
Auburn will be without one of its most experienced linebackers for its opener against Utah State.

Senior linebacker Eltoro Freeman was ruled ineligible for the game because of an "administrative oversight" in his eligibility process, the university announced Saturday.

The school said it recently discovered the error and expects Freeman to be available for next week's game against Mississippi State.

"I hate it for Eltoro that this occurred because this is on Auburn," Auburn coach Gene Chizik said in a release.

Freeman was listed as a second-team linebacker, but with a defense full of so many young faces, Freeman's presence would have helped.

He has started 12 games in his Auburn career. Last year, he recorded 37 tackles with four for loss and a sack in 12 games.
Auburn is our next stop for the league’s rebound players:


A.J. Greene, OT, Sr.: Greene started the first three games of last season before suffering a season-ending injury when he broke his left ankle against Clemson. Greene went through spring, and while he isn’t completely healthy, he has progressed, and the coaching staff expects him to be fine this fall. Getting him back will be a major boost to an offensive line that lost four veteran starters from last season. At 6-foot-5, 309 pounds, Greene should return to left tackle for the Tigers and will have the job of protecting a an inexperienced quarterback. If Greene’s mobility returns, he could be one of the tougher tackles in the league to get around this fall.


Eltoro Freeman, LB, Sr.: Freeman hasn’t exactly been a slouch since his arrival, but the former junior college standout hasn’t quite lived up to expectations. He has played in 22 games, starting 12 in his two seasons. Freeman has 68 tackles and two sacks to his name, but the Tigers’ staff predicted more from the 5-foot-11, 226-pounder. There is some untapped potential brewing inside Freeman. Auburn lost two very valuable linebackers in Josh Bynes and Craig Stevens, so in his final season, Freeman has a chance to make a much-needed impact on the Tigers’ defense. From all accounts, Freeman had a good spring, but he’ll have to fend off some young talent during preseason camp.

Lunchtime links: Powell's expectations

August, 12, 2010
Some of what's making headlines in the SEC:

Position superlatives: Auburn

March, 18, 2010
Today, we take a look at what should be the strongest and weakest positions for Auburn in 2010:

Strongest position: Offensive line

Key returnees: Lee Ziemba, Ryan Pugh, Byron Isom, Mike Berry, Bart Eddins, John Sullen

Key departures: Andrew McCain

The skinny: The Tigers' offensive line played the whole way last season with essentially five guys, and four of those starters are back. The 6-8, 310-pound Ziemba should be one of the best left tackles in the league, while Pugh was a second-team, All-SEC selection at center last season. There’s plenty of depth, too, when you look at the other players coming back, not to mention a pair of junior college newcomers – Roszell Gayden and Brandon Mosley – who are on campus and will go through spring practice. Whether it’s running the football or throwing it in 2010, the Tigers will have the experience and talent up front to get it done.

Weakest position: Linebacker

Key returnees: Josh Bynes, Craig Stevens, Eltoro Freeman, Jonathan Evans

Key departures: None

The skinny: Bynes and Stevens both had extremely productive seasons in 2009. The problem was that they had to play the whole game because the Tigers only had four scholarship linebackers available most of the season. Freeman should be better mentally and physically his second year in the program after coming over from junior college, and Evans was forced into action against Alabama and collected eight tackles. There’s some talk that the Tigers may take a look at Daren Bates at linebacker this spring. As a freshman safety last season, he was fourth on the team with 70 tackles. However it shakes out, Auburn needs to build more depth at the position. Highly rated freshman signee LaDarius Owens will be another one to watch.

Fresh faces: Auburn

July, 30, 2009

Posted by's Chris Low

Anybody who can make a play on offense will get a chance for the Tigers this season.

DeAngelo Benton, WR: Some of the best signing day news on the Plains earlier this year was that Benton had signed with Auburn's Tigers instead of LSU's Tigers. He'd signed with LSU twice, but was unable to qualify academically. He spent 2007 at Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy, but returned to his hometown of Bastrop, La., and didn't play football last season. Even though he might be a bit rusty, the 6-foot-2, 192-pound Benton figures to play a key role in Auburn's passing game this season. He arrived on campus this summer after receiving word from the NCAA Clearinghouse that he was good to go. His size and speed make him a natural to be a favorite target of whoever's throwing passes for Auburn.

Eltoro Freeman, LB: Speed is Freeman's game, which means he should fit in perfectly to Gene Chizik's style of defense. The junior college newcomer spent much of the spring working with the first team at weakside linebacker and improved steadily. Having the spring under his belt should make him that much more effective in the fall. The 5-11, 219-pound Freeman signed with Auburn in 2007, but opted for Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College when he failed to qualify academically. He sat out last season in junior college, meaning he still has three years of eligibility remaining at Auburn.

Onterio McCalebb, RB: After spending last season at Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy, McCalebb arrived at Auburn earlier this year in time for spring practice. It didn't take him long to make his presence felt. Listed at 164 pounds (and that may be generous), McCalebb added a dimension of speed that first-year offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn plans to put to good use in his spread offense. McCalebb had 27 touchdowns during his senior season at Fort Meade (Fla.) High School. He originally signed with Auburn in 2008, but didn't qualify academically and detoured through prep school. He's a multi-dimensional back who should be able to do a little bit of everything for the Tigers.

Auburn making some moves at linebacker

April, 6, 2009

Posted by's Chris Low

Depth at linebacker had been one of Auburn defensive coordinator Ted Roof's concerns, but he's made some moves to help the situation.

Marcus Jemison has moved from strong safety to strongside linebacker. Jemison is a redshirt freshman who was injured during preseason camp last year following a fight on the practice field.

Also, junior college transfer Eltoro Freeman is now working with the first team at weakside linebacker. Spencer Pybus moved to second team at weakside linebacker.