• John Macon Gillespie

Freeman Has Mind On Greatness

When the Tupelo Golden Wave needed big plays last season junior receiver Donte Freeman came up clutch. At different times he also impacted games from the running back and quarterback spots. Whatever was needed from him.

“You have to stay calm, you can’t panic because that’s where you mess up,” Freeman told SES Mississippi. “You have to stay calm to make those kind of plays when your team needs someone to come through.”

Next season Freeman will again be called on to make plays, if not even more so than in 2015. He is looking forward to transforming his attitude and becoming a leader. The Wave are coming off of a 6-6 finish that saw their season end at the hands of Warren Central in the first round of the 6A playoffs. Improvement and consistency from the rising senior could boost their showing in 2016.

“I want to have a positive attitude. A kind of attitude that make will make my teammates attitudes change also. A player with good body language can affect the whole team in a good way,” Freeman explained.

“I try to do what leaders do. You know, to pump somebody up after they mess up. The way I perform and the energy I bring every time the ball snaps or during a drill. Just little stuff like that helps your teammates whether you don’t think it does or not.”

On April 30th Freeman will make the trek to ICC, along with some of his other Tupelo High teammates, to compete at the Fortius Project.

“Fortius excites me, because for one, it’s football. And it’s just a time for me to show off my skills and just to show all the coaches and players how hard I’ve been working. To show the coaches there that I mean business,” He said.

Hard work, plus the things he’s been diligently working on so far this offseason are the qualities that will stick out about the do-it-all skill guy, according to him.

“I think how hard I work and my attitude will stand out the most,” He offered. “I’ve been trying to work on my attitude the most. If I can get that right, then I think being a good player will into a great player.”

Though he has progressed greatly as a result of his tireless work ethic, he isn’t satisfied and continues to push further.

“I’m trying to get better overall, but the thing I would say I probably need to work on is being a lot faster with my hands and feet coming off the ball,” Freeman said.

Last season Freeman totaled 241 rushing yards and two rushing scores. He caught 36 passes, amassing 474 yards, with four scores. Early in the season against Shannon, he had a long catch of 20 yards and a long rush of the same amount. Also, he received and ran for a score against the Red Raiders. He scored twice again against Horn Lake when he also caught 10 passes for 116 yards. His highest receiving output of the season came against Desoto Central when he rushed for 151 yards on seven carries.

“My ability to run and catch the ball plays a big role on how I play,” He said. “If you ask me I’m more of a shifty type of player. I use my shifty skills to get open and make plays. I guess that’s what makes me the player I am.”

Despite the amount of guys leaving the program, Freeman is excited for the future. Many of the younger players who had to step in last season due to injuries are more experienced for next Fall.

“I think the group of young guys coming up will help us out a lot. Some of those young guys played this past season. With the help of them and us juniors coming up will have a big impact on this season coming up,” Freeman said.

Senior year will be special for the multi-purpose weapon because it provides him with more opportunities to do what he loves most about the game.

“My favorite part about football is the feeling you get when you step out on the field on Friday nights,” He exclaimed.

**Photo by Markietha Swinney.

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