Carter High quarterback values academics as well as football

By Steve Williams

Knoxville already is represented by one quarterback in the Ivy League and may have another one playing in the prestigious conference in the near future.

Carter High School’s Jonathan Freeman may have what it takes as a student-athlete to be in that position someday.

While former CAK quarterback Quinn Epperly was having a Heisman-like season at Princeton last season, Freeman had a record-setting year throwing the football around at Carter.

Moving into the starting lineup as a junior, Freeman got off to a super start and finished with 2,122 passing yards and 29 touchdown passes as the Hornets posted a 9-2 record. He also rushed for 11 touchdowns.

Freeman also excelled in the classroom. Counting his Advanced Placement courses, he says his grade point average is around 4.0 heading into his senior year. He values academics as well as football.

This past summer, Jonathan attended football camps at Yale, Harvard, Furman, Duke and North Carolina State. He also visited and went to a camp at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

“That’s a place I’m very interested in as well,” he stated.

Freeman also visited the campuses of Wake Forest and Vanderbilt.

And his summer also included participation in the famous Manning Passing Academy in Louisiana.

“There were 40 starting quarterbacks from colleges there and I worked in a group with Marcus Mariota of Oregon, Anthony Boone of Duke and Trevor Boone of Oklahoma,” he said.

Freeman has a special connection with Yale. A family friend, Evan Ellis, who was an All-State offensive lineman at Elizabethton High, played for the Bulldogs.

On his trip to New Haven, Conn., Freeman got to meet Tony Reno, Yale’s head coach.

Jonathan hasn’t received any college offers yet, but he’s on the radar. The college coaches want to see how he does this upcoming season, too.

In his first varsity start last year, a 54-48 three-overtime win at Gibbs, Freeman turned in one of the best individual performances in TSSAA history, throwing seven touchdown passes.

High school fans can check out the Carter quarterback on opening night this season as the Hornets will host Gibbs in a Thursday night, Aug. 21, TV game.

Freeman isn’t expected to pass for nearly as much yardage in 2014 as all of Carter’s top receivers from last season graduated. The Hornets will be running the ball more under new coach Jeff McMillan and Jonathan, who has bulked up to 6-1, 205 pounds, will be tucking it and running it, too.

In addition to his success in football last season, Freeman also won region and state DECA competition for business management and administration and qualified nationally. He chose to pass on the national event in order to attend an important spring football practice under the team’s new head coach.

Freeman is considering a major in political science in college and attending law school or a major in business management.

“In the Ivy League, you compete on the field and in the classroom,” said McMillan.

Epperly, who played his high school ball under Rusty Bradley at Christian Academy of Knoxville, will be a senior for the Princeton Tigers this season.

Don’t be surprised if Freeman barks signals for the Yale Bulldogs someday.

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