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Flames Feature: Cooking Up a Recipe For Success

October 9, 2013
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Editorial Note: This article was the feature story in the Flames Illustrated football game day program on Sept. 7, when Liberty defeated future Big South foe Monmouth, 45-15. Currently, Cory Freeman ranks 11th on Liberty's roster and third among defensive lineman with 15 tackles (seven solo, eight assisted).

"My typical day off?"

Defensive lineman Cory Freeman considered the question as several of the teammates with whom he lives began to laugh, anticipating the domestic nature of his answer.

"Well," he began, rubbing perpetually sore muscles, "I normally get up before nine, grab [safety] Aaron Dial and then he and I will sit down and have pancakes, eggs, bacon and a nice cup of coffee."

Dial chuckled and confirmed that this was indeed their routine.

"We just talk," Freeman grinned, then added happily, "Like a couple of old men!"

It's a lighthearted comparison the fifth-year senior frequently employs, and one that the rest of his off-day activities of choice, school assignments, yard work and maintenance projects around the house, support.

Remaining spare time may even be allotted to his longtime love for cooking.

"I actually always wanted to go to culinary school when I was younger," Freeman stated. "I've always kind of pictured myself on a TV show? Cooking Italian food, seafood styles, soul food – those kinds of things. Every now and then I like to go in the kitchen and experiment, try and throw something together."

He animatedly describes his most recent success, an alfredo pasta dish with mushrooms and crab meat. His roommates also chimed in with their praise for the dish.

"I mean, it was pretty official-looking. It turned out good, especially those mushrooms," Freeman beamed.

While his hobbies of choice may be tranquil compared to the average college football player and conversation with fellow upperclassmen teammates punctuated by a self-deprecating sense of humor, don't be fooled. Freeman's five years of experience as a Liberty Flame and the skills he has developed throughout his career have become invaluable assets. The veteran status on which he jokingly blames his boring use of free time makes him a powerful threat on the field.

Freeman is coming off of a breakout redshirt  junior season in which he recorded 31 tackles (4.5 for loss, including two sacks) and led the team in quarterback hurries from all four spots across the front. As the face of a daunting defensive line looking to live up to the praise it received in the preseason, the 6-4, 275 pound Freeman plans to focus on the six-technique and defensive tackle positions and make this final season his best yet.

"Cory had a great fall camp. He showed great energy. I definitely think he's excited to be able to showcase what he's been able to do this past spring and fall," said defensive coordinator Robert Wimberly.

While Wimberly expressed his pleasure over the lineman's technical abilities, he also referenced Freeman's old-timer reputation as a vital factor in the unit's success.

"Cory definitely has that big brother mentality with a lot of the younger guys," Wimberly remarked. "I love the way he tries to encourage them, yet also hold them accountable about how we do things here at Liberty."

Head coach Turner Gill commended Freeman and other senior leaders for their willingness to provide leadership for his team in all areas – academic, social, spiritual and athletic – citing it as an important factor in the success of the team's season overall.

"Just to be able to lead, mentor and in some way teach these young guys some of the different things that I've learned over the course of four years is a privilege," Freeman stated humbly.

According to the coaching staff, it's something he does best through example.

"Cory goes all out in everything he does. He always gives 110 percent," declared Wimberly. "I don't care if it's individual workouts, walk-through or whatever. Anything, Cory does, he's tuned in and focused. The young guys see that, so when he gets on them about something, they respect it and know to watch him and do what he does."

It's obvious that his teammates like what they see when looking up to the senior lineman, as he is one of the five player-elected team captains for the season.

"When we're in meeting rooms and on the field, I'm serious. It's business," Freeman said. "At times they call me a bully, though that's mostly just playing around with them of course."

"But honestly, it's a lot of fun to have the younger guys around and be able to interact with them. We [upperclassmen] always say that the one thing that keeps us going are those young guys."

With leadership from faces familiar to the Williams Stadium crowd, Flames football enthusiasts should feel excited for plenty of success in 2013.

Freeman certainly does. As he takes the field for his final year as a Liberty Flame, fans can expect him to contribute on every play and leave his mark on Liberty football.

by Ryley Rush who is a Liberty University junior and is a freelance writer for Liberty Athletics