When Brian Kelly decided to bolt Notre Dame to take the LSU job on Monday night, he gave the college football coaching carousel a huge spin.
Now, Notre Dame has supplanted Oklahoma as the biggest coaching job available. It’s no surprise that two of the top candidates for the Fighting Irish job are Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell and Iowa State’s Matt Campbell. Marcus Freeman may be a name that isn’t quite as familiar to casual fans.
The 35-year-old Freeman currently is Notre Dame’s defensive coordinator and sportsbetting.ag has him as the betting favorite to get the full-time job in South Bend. There’s a push among some of Notre Dame’s fans and recruits for Freeman to fill Kelly’s shoes. However, Kelly reportedly has offered to make Freeman the highest-paid defensive coordinator in the country if he follows him to LSU.
Freeman has been one of hottest coordinators in the country the past few years, but he also was a star player at Ohio State, who spent time on NFL practice squads – including with the Houston Texans – before going into coaching.
After twice being named a second-team All-Big Ten linebacker at Ohio State, Freeman was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the fifth round in 2009. Freeman didn’t make the team and ended up on the Buffalo Bills practice squad. After being released by the Bills, Freeman was signed to the Texans practice squad in November of that year.
Freeman never appeared in an NFL game and retired after that first season due to an enlarged heart.
He went on to work at Ohio State as a graduate assistant and worked as a position coach at Kent State and Purdue before being named the defensive coordinator at Cincinnati in 2017 and taking the same job at Notre Dame this season.
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