By Shae Brophy
Meet West Michigan Hawks linebacker Eric Freeman. A 2007 graduate from Wyoming Park High School, Freeman has always stood out on the gridiron. After being named a captain in each of the first three years of high school, he took his senior year off to prepare for college ball. Freeman was a preferred walk-on at Michigan State University under defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi. After careful consideration, Freeman decided to transfer to Grand Rapids Community College to not only be able to play, but also to see if he was mature enough for the college lifestyle.
Freeman’s biggest idol is his grandfather, German Lopez. “He worked at a camp in Cuba for two years basically for free so that he could legally come to the USA with my mother and grandmother,” said Freeman. “He came here knowing zero English, building his life from the ground up, allowing my siblings and I to live the blessed and fortunate lives that we live.”
When he isn’t laying devasting hits on the football field, Freeman enjoys trying to identify which sports his three-year-old son enjoys, lifting, playing basketball, and his PlayStation.
“Mr. David Lange is very serious about this organization,” he said. “I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself and bigger than football. Mr. Lange and I had multiple conversations, and the simple fact that we play all of our games for a greater cause, whether it be Mr. Alan Beamer and his fight against Alzheimer’s Disease, or Brison Ricker and his fight against a brain tumor, made this a very easy decision. Every game is played for a much bigger reason than just the game we love.”
Head coach/owner David Lange sees something special in Freeman. “Eric is our run stopper without a doubt,” he said. “You’d have better success trying to run through a wall. He is very smart at his position and is a great teacher as well. He brings so much intensity and tenacity to our defense, it’s scary. Eric is a monster and a go-getter, exactly the type of player you want on your team.”
We hope to see you at Skinner Field on Saturday evening as the Hawks benefit Stephanie Cornwell in her fight against breast cancer. The Indiana Wolf Pack are coming to town, and the Hawks have vengeance on their minds!