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Devonta Cornellius Freeman (born March 15, 1992) is an American football running back for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Falcons in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He played college football at Florida State.

Devonta Freeman
refer to caption
Freeman at Falcons' mini camp in 2018
No. 24 – Atlanta Falcons
Position:Running back
Personal information
Born: (1992-03-15) March 15, 1992 (age 27)
Baxley, Georgia[1]
Height:5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight:206 lb (93 kg)
Career information
High school:Miami Central
(West Little River, Florida)
College:Florida State
NFL Draft:2014 / Round: 4 / Pick: 103
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 13, 2019
Rushing yards:3,687
Rushing average:4.2
Rushing touchdowns:30
Receptions:236
Receiving yards:1,887
Receiving touchdowns:10
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

High school careerEdit

Freeman attended Miami Central High School in West Little River, Florida.[2] He helped lead the Rockets football team to the 2010 Class 6A state championship and was named the MVP after gaining 308 yards on 36 carries, falling just 20 yards shy of a state championship game record.[3] As a senior, he ran for a Miami-Dade County leading 2,208 yards and 26 touchdowns, and also recorded 663 rushing yards and six touchdowns in the final two games of the state playoffs.[4]

Considered a 4-star recruit by Rivals.com, he was rated the best running back in the nation. He committed to Florida State on June 24, 2010.[5]

College careerEdit

Freeman attended and played college football for Florida State from 2011–2013.[6]

2011 seasonEdit

As a freshman at Florida State, Freeman immediately became a major contributor to the Seminoles' running game. In his collegiate debut against Louisiana-Monroe, he had 24 rushing yards and his first collegiate rushing touchdown.[7] On October 15, against Duke, he had 109 rushing yards and a touchdown.[8] In the next game against Maryland, he had 100 rushing yards and a touchdown.[9] In the next game, against North Carolina State, he was limited to only 17 rushing yards but had his third straight game with a rushing touchdown.[10] The next game, against Boston College, he had 62 rushing yards and two more rushing touchdowns.[11] In the in-state rivalry game against the Florida Gators, he had 44 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.[12] He recorded 120 carries for 579 yards and eight touchdowns.[13]

2012 seasonEdit

In the second game of his sophomore season, he had 69 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown against Savannah State.[14] On October 20, he had 70 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns against the Miami Hurricanes.[15] In the next game against Duke, he had 104 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.[16] After a forgettable performance against Virginia Tech in which he had -5 rushing yards on seven carries, he had 148 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns against Maryland.[17][18] Florida State finished with a 10–2 regular season record and qualified for the conference championship game.[19] In the ACC Championship against Georgia Tech, he had 59 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in the 21–15 victory.[20] As a sophomore in 2012, he had 111 carries for 660 yards and eight touchdowns.[21]

2013 seasonEdit

In the second game of the season, against Nevada, Freeman had 109 rushing yards and a touchdown.[22] In the next game against Bethune-Cookman, he had 112 rushing yards and a touchdown.[23] On October 5, against Maryland, he started a streak of ten straight games with a rushing touchdown.[24] On October 26, against North Carolina State, he had 92 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.[25] In the next game, against Miami, he had 78 rushing yards and two more rushing touchdowns to go along with 98 receiving yards and receiving touchdown.[26] On November 23, against Idaho, he had 129 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.[27] As a junior, Freeman was a first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) selection and helped the Florida State Seminoles win the 2014 BCS National Championship Game over Auburn by a score of 34–31.[28] He rushed for over 1,000 yards, the first Seminole to do so since Warrick Dunn in 1996.[29] Freeman finished the season with career highs in rushing yards (1,016), receiving yards (278), and touchdowns (15) despite splitting carries with James Wilder, Jr. and Karlos Williams in Florida State's backfield.[30] He led the Seminoles in rushing in each of his three seasons in Tallahassee.[31]

On January 11, 2014, Freeman announced he would forego his senior season and enter the 2014 NFL Draft.[32]

Career statisticsEdit

Devonta Freeman Rushing Receiving
Year Team Att Yards Avg Long TDs Rec Yards TDs
2011 Florida State 120 579 4.8 41 8 15 111 0
2012 Florida State 111 660 5.9 47 8 10 86 0
2013 Florida State 173 1,016 5.9 60 14 22 278 1
Career 404 2,255 5.6 60 30 47 475 1

Professional careerEdit

Freeman was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the fourth round (103rd overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft.[33] He was the eighth running back selected in the draft. As of 2017, he had more yards-from-scrimmage than any of them, second overall only to wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad
5 ft 8 14 in
(1.73 m)
206 lb
(93 kg)
29 38 in
(0.75 m)
9 58 in
(0.24 m)
4.58 s 1.59 s 4.26 s 7.11 s 31.5 in
(0.80 m)
9 ft 10 in
(3.00 m)
All values from NFL Combine.[34]

2014 season: Rookie yearEdit

In his rookie season in 2014, Freeman shared touches with fellow running backs Steven Jackson, Jacquizz Rogers, and Antone Smith. Against the New Orleans Saints in Week 1 at the Georgia Dome, Freeman had two rushes for 15 yards and two receptions for 18 yards in his NFL debut.[35] Against the Detroit Lions in Week 8, he scored his first career touchdown, a seven-yard reception from Matt Ryan in the first quarter.[36] Against the New Orleans Saints in Week 16, he scored his first career rushing touchdown, a 31-yard rush in the third quarter.[37] He appeared in all 16 games during his rookie season but started none. In his rookie season, he accumulated 248 rushing yards on 65 carries, 225 receiving yards on 30 receptions, one rushing touchdown, and two receiving touchdowns.[38]

2015 season: Breakout seasonEdit

Freeman started the 2015 season shaky. After recording just 18 rushing yards against the Philadelphia Eagles in the season opener on Monday Night Football and 25 rushing yards against the New York Giants, Freeman received his first career start on September 27, 2015 against the Dallas Cowboys. Against the Cowboys, Freeman had a breakout performance by rushing for a then career-high 141 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries.[39] The next week, he rushed for three touchdowns again to go along with 68 rushing yards against the Houston Texans.[40] In the following game against the Washington Redskins, he rushed for a career-high 153 yards to start a three-game streak of 100 yard performances from Weeks 4-7.[41] In Week 11 against the Indianapolis Colts, Freeman recorded 43 yards off three carries before leaving in the first half with a concussion.[42] By the end of the season, Freeman totaled 1,634 yards-from-scrimmage (5th in the NFL), 14 all-purpose touchdowns (1st) with 1,056 rushing yards (7th)[43] and 11 rushing touchdowns (1st).[1] He also finished the 2015 season ranked third among NFL running backs in both receptions (73) and receiving yards (578) along with three receiving touchdowns.[44] Following the season, Freeman was selected to the Pro Bowl, the first of his career, and was named a Second-team All-Pro. Freeman was named one of the captains, along with Geno Atkins of the Cincinnati Bengals, for Team Irvin in the 2016 Pro Bowl.[45] He was ranked as the 50th best player in the NFL and the fifth best running back by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2016.[46]

2016 season: Super Bowl LI appearanceEdit

 
Devonta Freeman training camp 2016

Freeman entered the 2016 season looking to advance on his successful season the year before. Freeman and Tevin Coleman would provide the Falcons with a solid running back combination in 2016. In Week 3, against the New Orleans Saints, he had 14 carries for 155 yards and five receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown.[47] The next week, against the Carolina Panthers, he scored his first rushing touchdown of the season in the 48–33 win.[48] In Week 12, against the Arizona Cardinals, he churned out 60 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries in the 38–19 victory.[49] In the next game, a 29–28 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, he had another two-touchdown performance on 15 carries for 56 yards.[50] In Week 15, Freeman ran for 139 yards on 20 carries for three touchdowns in a 41-13 win over the San Francisco 49ers, and was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week.[51] Freeman was named to his second consecutive Pro Bowl as an original selection behind Ezekiel Elliott and David Johnson, and played a huge role in the Falcons finishing with an 11–5 record and earning the #2 seed in the NFC. In the Divisional Round 36–20 victory over the Seattle Seahawks, Freeman had 14 carries for 45 yards and scored his first career postseason touchdown and also recorded four catches for 80 yards. In the NFC Championship 44–21 victory over the Green Bay Packers, Freeman recorded 14 carries for 42 yards and four receptions for 42 yards and scored his first career postseason receiving touchdown.[52] In Super Bowl LI, where the Falcons lost 34–28 in overtime to the New England Patriots, Freeman would have 11 carries for 75 yards, two receptions for 46 yards, and scored the first points for either team on a rushing touchdown in the second quarter.[53][54] Freeman was ranked as the 41st best player in the NFL and the sixth best running back by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2017.[55]

2017 seasonEdit

On August 9, 2017, Freeman signed a five-year, $41.25 million contract extension with the Falcons to become the highest paid running back in the NFL.[56] In Week 1, against the Chicago Bears, he was limited to 37 rushing yards on 12 carries but had a touchdown in the 23–17 victory.[57] In Week 2, in the 34–23 victory over the Green Bay Packers, he had 84 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the first game in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.[58] Freeman's first touchdown was the first ever touchdown in the history of the new stadium. In Week 3, against the Detroit Lions, he recorded 106 rushing yards and a touchdown.[59] Though splitting carries with Tevin Coleman, he scored five rushing touchdowns in the first four games to lead the NFL.[60] In Week 4, against the Buffalo Bills, he had 58 rushing yards and a touchdown for his fourth straight game with at least one in 2017.[61] Over the next six games, Freeman did not record a touchdown. That streak ended on Thursday Night Football in Week 14 against the New Orleans Saints. In the 20–17 victory, he had 24 carries for 91 yards and a touchdown.[62] In the next game, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he had 22 carries for 126 yards and a touchdown in the 24–21 victory on Monday Night Football.[63] In the regular season finale against the Carolina Panthers, he had 23 rushing yards, 85 receiving yards, and a receiving touchdown in the 22–10 victory.[64] The Atlanta Falcons finished with a 10–6 record and made the playoffs.[65] Overall, Freeman finished with 865 rushing yards, seven rushing touchdowns, 36 receptions, 317 receiving yards, and one receiving touchdown in the 2017 season.[66] In the Wild Card Round, against the Los Angeles Rams, he had 66 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in the 26–13 victory.[67] In the Divisional Round, he had a receiving touchdown in the 15–10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.[68] The touchdown marked Freeman's fifth consecutive postseason game with a touchdown.[69] He was ranked 70th by his peers on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2018.[70]

2018 season: Lost seasonEdit

In Week 1, Freeman suffered a knee injury and missed the next three games. He returned in Week 5 before injuring his foot and experienced soreness in his groin. He missed the following week and was later revealed that Freeman required groin surgery. He was placed on injured reserve on October 16, 2018.[71][72]

2019 seasonEdit

In week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals, Freeman rushed 19 times for 88 yards and caught 3 passes for 30 yards and 2 touchdowns in the 34-33 loss. [73] During Week 7 against the Los Angeles Rams, Freeman threw a punch at Aaron Donald, and was ejected. Without Freeman, the Falcons lost 37-10. [74]

NFL statisticsEdit

Legend
Led the league
Bold Career high

Regular seasonEdit

Season Team Games Rushing Receiving Fumbles
GP GS Att Yds Avg Lng TD Rec Yds Avg Lng TD FUM Lost
2014 ATL 16 0 65 248 3.8 31T 1 30 225 7.5 36 1 1 1
2015 ATL 15 13 265 1,056 4.0 39 11 73 578 7.9 44 3 3 2
2016 ATL 16 16 227 1,079 4.8 75T 11 54 462 8.6 35 2 1 1
2017 ATL 14 14 196 865 4.4 44 7 36 317 8.8 29 1 4 1
2018 ATL 2 2 14 68 4.9 20 0 5 23 4.6 14 0 0 0
Career 63 45 767 3,316 4.3 75 30 198 1,605 8.1 44 7 9 5

PostseasonEdit

Season Team Games Rushing Receiving Fumbles
GP GS Att Yds Avg Lng TD Rec Yds Avg Lng TD FUM Lost
2016 ATL 3 3 39 162 4.2 37 2 10 168 16.8 53 1 0 0
2017 ATL 2 2 28 73 2.6 22 1 6 29 4.8 13 1 0 0
Career 5 5 67 235 3.5 37 3 16 197 12.3 53 2 0 0

Personal lifeEdit

Freeman's jersey number is 24 in honor of his aunt Tamekia N. Brown, who died at the age of 24 from a heart attack when Freeman was 14.[75] He has her name tattooed on his left arm.

ReferencesEdit

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  3. ^ Nawrocki, Nolan. "Devonta Freeman Combine Profile". NFL. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
  4. ^ Kaplan, Emily. "Devonta Freeman Has the Grit to Take on the World". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  5. ^ "Running Back Devonta Freeman Commits To Florida State". Archived from the original on February 3, 2014. Retrieved November 4, 2013.
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  70. ^ NFL Top 100 Players of 2018: No. 70 Devonta Freeman
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  75. ^ McClure, Vaughn (September 5, 2014). "New number meaningful to Freeman". ESPN.com.

External linksEdit