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THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2007
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AU signee reminds fans of Blackmon

By Bradley Handwerger
bhandwerger@decaturdaily.com · 340-2462

MOBILE — One look at Eltoro Freeman and you know he’s a linebacker.

That possibly could be because of his uncanny resemblance to Auburn linebacker Tray Blackmon.

For an opponent, that’s not a good thing, especially since Freeman, an Auburn signee, plays a lot like the overpowering Blackmon.

On Saturday, those fans in Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium will be introduced to Freeman in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic. Kickoff is 7 p.m.

Prattville head coach Bill Clark, working as Alabama’s head coach this week, shook his head thinking about Freeman’s time in practice.

“That guy is a hitting machine,” Clark said. “We just try to keep him from hurting somebody. He doesn’t know but one speed.”

Freeman, a standout for Alexander City this past fall, is one of five players who signed to play at Auburn in the fall.

The other four are linemen Nick Fairley, Jared Cooper and Chaz Ramsey, and cornerback Ryan Williams.

As for Freeman, he met Blackmon before Auburn’s 27-17 win over Florida in October. They struck up an immediate friendship.

“We went in the locker room and talked,” Freeman said. “He’s really excited about having me down there.”

Then there’s Ramsey and Cooper, who possibly have a shot at playing time this season. Auburn is looking to replace four starters from the 2006 team.

Ramsey, a native of Jackson, Miss., believes the opportunity is there for the taking. Offensive line coach Hugh Nall as much as hinted at that.

“He needs some guards, so hopefully I’ll be on the two-deep this year and save a redshirt year,” Ramsey said.

Playing in this week’s game will help prepare Ramsey for college, he said.

“I think it prepares me a lot, just getting back in pads and getting back into the swing of things,” he said.

Despite already signing a scholarship, Cooper said there’s plenty to prove.

“Anytime you play, you want to perform your best,” said Cooper, who played at W.S. Neal in Brewton. “After signing a scholarship, you’re trying to show that they made the right decision in signing you.”

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