Royce Freeman
refer to caption
Freeman in the 2019 NFL season
No. 26 – Houston Texans
Position:Running back
Personal information
Born: (1996-02-24) February 24, 1996 (age 26)
Imperial, California
Height:6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight:238 lb (108 kg)
Career information
High school:Imperial
(Imperial, California)
College:Oregon (2014–2017)
NFL Draft:2018 / Round: 3 / Pick: 71
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 14, 2021
Rushing yards:1,289
Rushing average:3.9
Rushing touchdowns:8
Receiving yards:486
Receiving touchdowns:1
Player stats at

Royce Deion Freeman (born February 24, 1996) is an American football running back for the Houston Texans of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the Oregon Ducks.

High school career

Freeman attended Imperial High School in Imperial, California, where he played running back for the Tigers high school football team.[1] Freeman made his varsity debut as a freshman against Southwest High School (El Centro, CA.) His second career carry was a 63-yard touchdown run. He finished his freshman year with 225 yards on 26 carries and one rushing touchdown. As a sophomore, he ran for 2,075 yards on 162 carries and ran for 35 touchdowns. He also caught 14 passes for 153 yards and added two receiving touchdowns and returned two interceptions for touchdowns. As a junior, he ran for 2,482 yards on 201 carries and ran for 34 touchdowns. He caught 10 passes for 137 yards and had two touchdown receptions. As a senior, he ran for 2,824 yards on 256 carries and ran for 41 touchdowns. He also caught 8 passes for 116 yards and added two receiving touchdowns. He finished his high school playing career with 7,606 rushing yards on 645 carries (11.8 yards per carry) and ran for 111 touchdowns. Freeman also recorded six receiving touchdowns and two interceptions returned for touchdown (119 total touchdowns).[2][3]

During his senior season, Freeman set three San Diego section career records. Against Calexico High School, Freeman broke the career rushing record of 6,694 yards which was set by Ricky Seale of Escondido High School.[4] The following week against Central High School, Freeman broke the career-rushing touchdown record of 105 set by Rashaan Salaam of La Jolla Country Day High School.[5] In the final week of the regular season, Freeman broke the career-points-scored record of 697 points set by Dillon Baxter of Mission Bay High School.[6]

Freeman is the San Diego Section record-holder for career rushing yards (7,606), career rushing touchdowns (111), and career points scored (724).[7][8]

Considered a five-star recruit by, Freeman was listed as the eighth-ranked running back in the nation in 2014.[9]

College career

2014 season

Freeman with the Oregon Ducks in 2014
Freeman with the Oregon Ducks in 2014

Freeman came to Oregon as the highest rated recruit of the 2014 class. He immediately impressed coaches in practice and camp, and competed for the starting role with Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner. All three were listed as co-starters at the running back position to start the 2014 season. Freeman, the heaviest of the three, established himself as a "power back," an element missing in the Oregon offense since the 2008 season. He finished the season with 252 carries for 1,365 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns, while having 16 receptions for 158 yards and one receiving touchdown.[10] He even had a 26-yard passing touchdown to quarterback Marcus Mariota in a 31-24 loss to the Arizona Wildcats. At the end of the season, he was awarded Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year.[11]

2015 season

Freeman started the 2015 season off strong with 180 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns against Eastern Washington.[12] On October 3, against Colorado, he had 163 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in the 41–24 victory.[13] The next week, against Washington State, he had 246 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns, and a receiving touchdown in the 45–38 2OT loss.[14] The next week, he rushed for 138 yards in a victory over Washington.[15] In the next game, at Arizona State, he had 110 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in the victory.[16] On November 27, against Oregon State, he had 167 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns to go with 51 receiving yards.[17] In the Alamo Bowl against TCU, he had 130 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns in the 47–41 3OT loss.[18] Overall, as a sophomore, Freeman had 1,836 rushing yards and 17 rushing touchdowns to go along with 26 receptions for 348 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns.[19] He led the Pac-12 in rushing touchdowns on the season.[20]

2016 season

In the 2016 season opener against UC Davis, Freeman had 87 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.[21] In the next game, against Virginia, he had 207 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.[22] On October 1, in a game at Washington State, he had 138 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.[23] On November 19, against Utah, he had 129 rushing yards and a receiving touchdown.[24] Overall, as a junior, Freeman recorded 945 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns to go along with 23 receptions for 144 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown.[25]

2017 season

In the 2017 season opener against Southern Utah, Freeman had 150 rushing yards, four rushing touchdowns, and 50 receiving yards.[26] In the next game, against Nebraska, he had 153 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.[27] He continued his hot streak with 157 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns against Wyoming in the following game.[28] On October 14, against Stanford, he had 143 rushing yards but the Ducks lost 49–7.[29] In the next game, he had 139 rushing yards against Utah.[30] On November 18, against Arizona, he had 135 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns.[31] In his final collegiate game, he had 122 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns against Oregon State in a 69–10 victory.[32] Overall, Freeman finished his stellar collegiate career with 1,475 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns to go along with 14 receptions for 164 receiving yards in the 2017 season.[33]


Year Team Games Rushing Receiving
Att Yards Avg Long TD Rec Yards Avg Long TD
2014 Oregon 15 252 1,365 5.4 38T 18 16 158 9.9 30 1
2015 Oregon 13 283 1,836 6.5 64T 17 26 348 12.0 33 2
2016 Oregon 11 168 945 5.6 85T 9 23 144 6.3 24 1
2017 Oregon 12 244 1,475 6.0 59 16 14 164 11.7 50 0
Career 51 947 5,621 5.9 85T 60 79 814 10.3 50 4

Awards & honors




High School

Professional career

On November 20, 2017, Freeman officially accepted his invitation to play in the 2018 Senior Bowl.[36] Freeman sustained an injury and did not play in the 2018 Reese's Senior Bowl.[37] Freeman attended the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis and performed all of the combine and positional drills. He finished ninth among all running backs in the 40-yard dash, tied for 12th in the bench press, and also finished third among his position group in the three-cone drill and short shuttle. Freeman displayed quickness and agility especially for a running back of his size and was able to impress scouts with his overall performance.[38] On March 15, 2018, Freeman participated at Oregon's pro day, but opted to stand on his combine numbers and only performed positional drills. At the conclusion of the pre-draft process, Freeman was projected to be a third round pick by NFL draft experts and scouts. He was ranked the eighth best running back in the draft by Scouts Inc. and was ranked the ninth best running back by[39][40]

External video
video icon Royce Freeman's NFL Combine Workout
video icon Royce Freeman runs the 40-yard dash
Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump Bench press
5 ft 11+12 in
(1.82 m)
229 lb
(104 kg)
32 in
(0.81 m)
9+12 in
(0.24 m)
4.54 s 1.60 s 2.66 s 4.16 s 6.90 s 34 in
(0.86 m)
9 ft 10 in
(3.00 m)
17 reps
All values from NFL Draft[41][42]

Denver Broncos

The Denver Broncos selected Freeman in the third round (71st overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft. Freeman was the eighth running back drafted in 2018.[43]

External video
video icon Broncos draft Royce Freeman 71st overall
video icon Royce Freeman's College Highlights
Freeman in a game against the Tennessee Titans
Freeman in a game against the Tennessee Titans

On July 5, 2018, the Denver Broncos signed Freeman to a four-year, $3.94 million contract that includes a signing bonus of $997,020.[44]

2018 season: Rookie year

Entering his first training camp, Freeman was slated to be the Broncos' starting running back, but he faced minor competition from Devontae Booker. After a very impressive training camp and preseason, head coach Vance Joseph officially named Freeman the starting running back to begin the season.

Freeman made his first career start and NFL regular-season debut in the Broncos' 27–24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in the season opener. He had 15 carries for 71 rushing yards in the win.[45] In the following game, Freeman scored his first professional rushing touchdown in the 20–19 victory over the Oakland Raiders.[46] In Week 4, on Monday Night Football against the Kansas City Chiefs, Freeman had 8 carries for 67 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown for the third consecutive game.[47] Against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 7, Freeman recorded 13 carries for 37 yards before suffering an ankle injury which kept him sidelined for two games.[48] After returning from his injury, Freeman lost his starting job to fellow rookie Phillip Lindsay. Overall, Freeman finished his rookie season with 132 carries for 521 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns.[49]

2019 season

Heading into his second training camp, Freeman faced competition for the starting running back job from Phillip Lindsay. Although Freeman opened preseason as the Broncos' starting running back, he was surpassed by Lindsay on the depth chart. At the conclusion of preseason, new head coach Vic Fangio named Freeman the No. 2 running back on the depth chart behind Lindsay.

Freeman made his 2019 regular-season debut in the Broncos' season-opening 16-24 loss to the Oakland Raiders, recording 10 carries for 56 rushing yards and one reception for 5 yards. The following week against the Chicago Bears in a 16-14 loss, Freeman recorded 11 carries for 54 rushing yards and 5 receptions for 48 yards. In Week 3 against the Green Bay Packers in a 16-27 loss, Freeman recorded 15 carries for 63 rushing yards and 4 receptions for 10 yards. Despite splitting carries with Lindsay and starting the season on a strong note, Freeman struggled from Weeks 4-8 and received less of a role on offense in the second half of the season. He finished the 2019 season with 130 carries for 496 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns to go along with 43 receptions for 256 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown.[50]

2020 season

With the addition of veteran running back Melvin Gordon, Freeman was pushed down to the No. 3 running back role. He finished the 2020 season with only 35 carries for 170 yards and no touchdowns.

2021 season

While Phillip Lindsay left in free agency to sign with the Houston Texans, the Broncos also signed Mike Boone in free agency and drafted Javonte Williams in the 2021 NFL Draft. Freeman entered training camp competing for a roster spot as a backup. On September 1, 2021, Freeman was waived by the Broncos.[51]

Carolina Panthers

On September 2, 2021, Freeman was claimed off waivers by the Carolina Panthers.[52] He played in eight games before being released on November 8.[53]

Houston Texans

On November 9, 2021, Freeman was claimed off waivers by the Houston Texans.[54] He re-signed with the Texans on March 25, 2022.[55]

NFL statistics

Year Team Games Rushing Receiving Fumbles
GP GS Att Yds Avg Lng TD Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Fum Lost
2018 DEN 14 8 130 521 4.0 24 5 14 72 5.1 9 0 1 1
2019 DEN 16 0 132 496 3.8 26 3 43 256 6.0 19 1 0 0
2020 DEN 16 0 35 170 4.9 23 0 12 81 6.8 28 0 0 0
Career 46 8 297 1,187 4.0 26 8 69 409 5.9 28 1 1 1

See also


  1. ^ Maffei, John. "Royce Freeman finishes career with bang". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved October 2, 2018.
  2. ^ "Royce Freeman's High School Football Stats". Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  3. ^ Maffei, John. "Royce Freeman finishes career with bang". Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  4. ^ Dale, Jonathan. "Imperial's Royce Freeman becomes king of San Diego Section rushing in Tiger win". Imperial Valley Press Online. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  5. ^ Dale, Jonathan. "Freeman sets touchdown record in 45-28 win over Spartans". Imperial Valley Press Online. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  6. ^ "Whicker: Oregon Ducks no longer a hot ticket? Don't blame RB Royce Freeman". Orange County Register. July 14, 2016. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  7. ^ Garcia, Gus. "Royce Freeman broke records en route to NFL career". The Desert Review. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  8. ^ Lindgren, Jim (October 26, 2013). "Rushing record for Imperial's Freeman". San Diego U-T Preps. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  9. ^ Royce Freeman Recruiting Profile
  10. ^ Kaipust, Rich. "As engine that drives Ducks' offense, Royce Freeman rolls". Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  11. ^ "Pac-12 football player and coach of the year awards". Pac-12 Conference. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  12. ^ "Adams debuts, leaves with injury in Oregon win". Newsday. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  13. ^ "Oregon rides Royce Freeman to 41-24 win at Colorado". NBC Sports Northwest. October 3, 2015. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  14. ^ "Washington State pulls outs dramatic 45-38 double overtime win at Oregon". October 10, 2015. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  15. ^ Greif, Andrew. "At this rate, Royce Freeman on pace to take down LaMike James' season rushing record: Ducks rundown". Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  16. ^ Gold, Jason. "Arizona State defender calls Oregon RB Royce Freeman 'dominating'". ajc. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  17. ^ Mims, Steve. "Oregon football: Ducks can rely on Freeman". Corvallis Gazette Times. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  18. ^ "TCU posts bowl-record comeback to stun Oregon". Gwinnett Daily Post. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  19. ^ Thorburn, Ryan. "Freeman closing in on James' school rushing record". The Register. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  20. ^ "2015 Pac-12 Conference Leaders". College Football at Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  21. ^ "No. 24 Oregon downs UC Davis 53-28 in Prukop's debut". USA TODAY. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  22. ^ Greif, Andrew. "Behind Royce Freeman, No. 24 Oregon pushes Virginia aside but can't outrun defensive issues". Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  23. ^ Piraro, Tony (October 1, 2016). "Game Recap: Washington State Embarrasses Oregon, 51-33". Addicted To Quack. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  24. ^ Williams, Joshua (November 21, 2016). "Oregon Ducks Royce Freeman Returns To Form Against Utah". Autzen Zoo. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  25. ^ "Royce Freeman 2016 Game Log". College Football at Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  26. ^ "Freeman record watch 2017: Royce rolls for 150 vs. So. Utah". NBC Sports Northwest. September 3, 2017. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  27. ^ Peterson, Anne M. (September 10, 2017). "Herbert throws for 3 TDs and Oregon beats Nebraska 42-35". AP NEWS. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  28. ^ "Freeman and Oregon rush past Wyoming as Allen struggles". USA TODAY. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  29. ^ "Royce Freeman record watch 2017: Now 140 yards away". NBC Sports Northwest. October 17, 2017. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  30. ^ Yates, Eric. "Oregon RB Royce Freeman quietly producing one of greatest careers". ajc. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  31. ^ Greif, Andrew. "Justin Herbert returns, Royce Freeman rolls as Oregon Ducks top Arizona". Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  32. ^ "Oregon routs Oregon State 69-10 in the Civil War". USA TODAY. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  33. ^ "Denver Broncos RB Royce Freeman pushing for lead role in backfield". UPI. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  34. ^ "Pac-12 awards: Rich Rodriguez named Coach of the Year". December 2, 2014. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
  35. ^ "Oregon Ducks Rushing". College Football at Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  36. ^ "3 Oregon Ducks accept invites to play in 2018 Senior Bowl". November 20, 2017. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  37. ^ "Mo Hurst suffers injury and can't play in the Senior Bowl". Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  38. ^ Fentress, Aaron (March 3, 2018). "Royce Freeman performed well at the NFL Combine". NBCSports. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  39. ^ "Royce Freeman, DS #9 RB, Oregon". Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  40. ^ "NFL Royce Freeman -ESPN". Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  41. ^ "Royce Freeman Draft and Combine Prospect Profile". March 1, 2018. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  42. ^ "2018 Draft Scout Royce Freeman, Oregon NFL Draft Scout College Football Profile". Retrieved May 12, 2018.
  43. ^ Teope, Herbie (April 27, 2018). "Broncos address RB position, draft Royce Freeman". Retrieved May 6, 2018.
  44. ^ " Royce Freeman contract". Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  45. ^ "Rookie running backs help power Broncos over Seahawks". Denver Broncos. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  46. ^ "Broncos' late field goal stuns Raiders 20-19". Las Vegas Review-Journal. September 16, 2018. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  47. ^ "Rookie RBs Freeman, Lindsay pay dividends for Broncos". UPI. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  48. ^ "Royce Freeman injury update: Broncos RB sprains ankle against Cardinals, report says". Sporting News. October 19, 2018. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  49. ^ "Royce Freeman 2018 Game Log". Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  50. ^ "Royce Freeman 2019 Game Log". Retrieved January 6, 2020.
  51. ^ DiLalla, Aric (September 1, 2021). "Broncos waive RB Royce Freeman, DL Jonathan Harris".
  52. ^ Gantt, Darin (September 2, 2021). "Panthers claim RB Royce Freeman off waivers".
  53. ^ Gantt, Darin (November 8, 2021). "Panthers place two starting linemen on injured reserve".
  54. ^ "Houston Texans Transactions (11-9-2021)". November 9, 2021.
  55. ^ "Houston Texans Transactions (3-25-2022)". March 25, 2022.