Irish, Hawkeyes impress Freeman

Grandview, Mo., standout quarterback Josh Freeman has been a lot of places this spring, but there was one unofficial visit that he was really looking forward to – a double-dip visit to both Notre Dame and Iowa. The 6-foot-5, 226-pound Rivals100 selection is back from the trip to the Midwest, and according to his father he came away with very good impressions of both programs.
"They both went really well," Ron Freeman, Josh's father, said. "I tell you what, we probably get more impressed with Iowa every time we see and talk to them more. And Notre Dame was simply amazing. Josh felt right at home there."
Freeman said his son got a chance to meet a lot of people at both schools. At Iowa he got a chance to sit in a quarterback's meeting, and he also got a chance to talk to Hawkeye coach Kirk Ferentz.
"After talking to coach Ferentz, it's very clear to us that Iowa is a very impressive program," Freeman said. "We were especially impressed at the way that coach Ferentz is approaching the recruiting process with Josh. They don't over-promise. Coach said 'we think you can play for us, but we're not going to tell you that you have a job.'
"That's something that really impressed us. He was very honest about how Josh would fit in up there."
The Notre Dame visit was a trip that both Freeman and his father have been looking forward to quite some time. Freeman did not walk away with an offer from the Irish, but it's apparent that Notre Dame is extremely interested.
"Coach (Charlie) Weis was pretty surprised about Josh's size," Freeman said. "He was like 'wow, I would kind of be excited to work with a quarterback that's six inches taller than me.'
"Coach Weis said they really feel like there are some good things about him as an athlete that he could bring to the table. In terms of rebuilding, coach said they look at the quarterback's strengths and talent level and then they will build the program and system around the quarterback's strengths. They were really appreciative of what Josh brings to the table."
Ron Powlus, the former Irish signalcaller, also played a significant role on Freeman's visit to South Bend.
"He is a quality person," Freeman said. "He and coach Weis were so personable. We were a little surprised at how personable coach Weis was. He was very, very impressive. Josh seemed to really connect with him and coach Powlus. That's one of the key factors for us – how the inner personable relationships are going to work."
Freeman also pointed out several other things that his son was impressed with at Notre Dame.
"We went to see their weight training facility," Freeman said. "That was very, very impressive. The natural lighting that they have there is phenomenal. This was more like a cathedral instead of a dungeon like you'll see in some weight rooms. What's even more impressive is that they're going to double the size of it before the fall.
"We also liked the idea of being a Notre Dame graduate from a life standpoint and what a degree from a school like that would mean."
The next step for Freeman is to make probably one more spring visit before he starts to focus even more on spring training, getting ready for the NIKE Training Camp and his senior season. He is scheduled to make a visit to Nebraska for the Huskers' spring game, and after that expect him to take a step back from the recruiting process and reflect on where he's at.
"It's time to cool our jets," Freeman said. "We know what we've liked and what we've seen. But there are still so many questions that you really can't answer now.
"Where is the best opportunity? Are we going to be at a program that is going to be competing for championships – both conference and on the national level? The academic element is strong everywhere, but where is he going to get a great diploma and get to work with great people?"
Those questions will be answered in due time, but there is no questioning that Freeman is one of the nation's hottest quarterback targets in the class of 2006.