Keeghan Freeborn primarily has played on the offensive line throughout his high school football career at Rocky Mountain.
But Boise State coaches think the 6-foot-1, 310-pound senior’s skills are better suited for a defensive role at nose tackle.
Freeborn confirmed he’s more than happy to make the switch, accepting a scholarship Thursday to play for the Broncos beginning in the fall of 2018.
“It’s just a new way to play the game. I’ve been able to know both sides of the ball with O-line and D-line,” Freeborn said. “They both go hand-in-hand. Being able to know how to counter it means you know how to play that position at the same time.”
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Freeborn said he called Boise State defensive line coach Steve Caldwell to give his commitment Thursday afternoon. Caldwell then put Freeborn on speaker to talk with head coach Bryan Harsin.
“(Harsin) said: ‘We’re pumped up. We’re excited for you.’ ” Freeborn said. “ ‘Now the real fun starts — you get to go have a good senior year and then you get to come here and put in the work.’ ”
The Grizzlies’ starting left tackle also had offers from Air Force, Montana State, Weber State, Idaho and Hawaii, he said.
“He is a true nose guard. His strength, balance and understanding of leverage make him special,” former Rocky Mountain coach Scott Criner said. “He’s one of the nicest people off the field you’ll ever meet, but on the field he plays with a very aggressive and nasty demeanor.
“He’s a powerful player who fits the blue-collar attitude that is Boise State football.”
After taking a year off from wrestling, Freeborn advanced to the 5A state final at 285 pounds in February. He narrowly lost to Columbia’s Brandon Kipper — who is now a freshman offensive lineman at Hawaii — 3-2 in an ultimate tiebreaker.
Last fall, Freeborn made the 5A All-Idaho first team on the offensive line after helping Rocky Mountain average 342 rushing yards per game and run for 43 touchdowns.
Freeborn took an unofficial tour of Boise State’s campus Tuesday. He said the visit “confirmed the feeling that it’s the place to be.”
Boise State now has eight known verbal commitments for the 2018 class, including three on the defensive line — with all three coming this week. Texas nose tackle Scale Igiehon announced his commitment Monday and Hawaii defensive end/linebacker Kukea Emmsley committed Wednesday.
BOISE STATE FOOTBALL 2018 RECRUITING COMMITMENTS
▪ LB Phillip Mills, 6-3, 220, Paloma Valley High (Menifee, Calif.)
▪ LB Brandon Hawkins, 6-3, 210, Georgetown (Texas) High
▪ QB Zach Wilson, 6-3, 200, Corner Canyon High (Draper, Utah)
▪ LB DJ Schramm, 6-1, 215, Clovis West High (Fresno, Calif.)
▪ RB/WR Kazmeir Allen, 5-9, 165, Tulare (Calif.) Union High
▪ NT Scale Igiehon, 6-2, 327, Del Valle (Texas) High
▪ DE/LB Kukea Emmsley, 6-4, 230, Kapolei (Hawaii) High
▪ NT Keeghan Freeborn, 6-1, 310, Rocky Mountain High