The New Jersey Mini Max Award is one of the most illustrious youth football accolades in the nation, so when Cole Freeman discovered he was the 2021 recipient, he was extremely flattered.
The Class of 2021 Delbarton quarterback effusively praised the Maxwell Football Club for the honor.
Players were nominated by their coaches and the process was determined on three categories: football performance, academics, and community service.
“I want to thank the Maxwell Football Club for the honor of recognizing me as one of the top athletes in the state,” Freeman said. “It is a very prestigious award and I am honored to have been selected.”
Freeman, who is committed to Brown University, gives plenty of credit to his support system at Delbarton for this individual accolade.
With the 6-foot, 205-pound Freeman under center, Delbarton posted a 6-0 record prior to the season being cancelled due to COVID-19. Freeman logged 750 passing yards and 350 rushing yards, and 17 total touchdowns.
“I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to play for Delbarton. We had a memorable senior year and I could not have accomplished what I have without my teammates and coaches,” Freeman said. “I have worked to become the player and person I am today since Elementary school, and I am so happy and appreciative of the Maxwell Football club for recognizing me.”
Despite the abrupt ending, Freeman will have many fond memories from his senior season.
“We were just getting started. Right before the Bergen Catholic game our offense really started to find its identity and even though we were undefeated, we all knew we had so much more potential that we were ready to unleash,” Freeman said. “Despite that we had an amazing and successful season and it was a great season to end our career at Delbarton on.”
Overall, Freeman was a three-time First Team All-Conference selection during his outstanding high school career. Freeman additionally was selected as the Morris Sussex Player of the Year and to the Second Team All-State team.
Freeman is constantly on the grind in pursuit of ways to improve.
“I workout with my private trainer every day to build my body and get bigger, stronger, and faster. I also work out with my quarterback coach on the weekends to fine tune my skills,” Freeman said. “I play for a 7v7 team during the spring to create an environment similar to a real game and I get a lot of good work through that.”
Additionally, Freeman has been invited to Elite 11, Rivals, and Under Armor combines, and has also competed at the top college camps in the country as a recruit.
Freeman explains the unique challenges of playing football during a pandemic and how sports provided an outlet.
“It was difficult, but football made life so much better during the summer and fall. I honestly do not know what we would have done those months without the football season,” Freeman said. “We were worried week in and week out about staying COVID free, but it was so nice to have an out and something enjoyable to distract us from everything going on in the world. I think the pandemic helped bring us together as a team and as a family.”
The unselfish Freeman is wishing for future success for his younger teammates during these tough times.
“The pandemic took away a lot of recruiting opportunities like camps and live throwing sessions with coaches unfortunately. However, I was able to just enjoy the game of football instead of worrying and stressing about recruiting,” Freeman said. “In the end everything worked out and I am super excited to play at Brown, but I hope that my younger teammates are able to get opportunities to play at the next level because recruiting is completely messed up for them right now.”
Freeman gladly accepts the role of leader and motivator which comes with the quarterback position.
“It is tough to always be a great teammate, but it is the most important thing a quarterback and really any athlete needs to be. You do this by developing relationships with your teammates and just becoming really good friends with them first,” Freeman said. “Once you are close with them it's much easier to give each other advice and be real when one of you mess up. The biggest thing to do to be a great teammate is be the guy that picks your guys up when something goes wrong.”
For Freeman, football is a microcosm of what life is all about.
“There are so many life lessons in football, and that is one of the reasons it is such a special sport,” Freeman said. “It has taught me to get back up after getting knocked down, to never stop fighting, and to appreciate the relationships I have and get the opportunity to make in my life.”
Off the field, giving back is extremely important to Freeman. Freeman makes it an emphasis to help those in need.
“I have participated in the Solidarity Sleep Out at Delbarton as well as giving gifts to families in Patterson for the Christmas Toy Drive,” Freeman said. “Both opportunities gave me a perspective and understanding that I never would have had otherwise and I am thankful to Delbarton for aiding me in finding those opportunities.”
In the classroom, Freeman has a stellar 3.7 GPA and scored a 1350 on his SATs. Freeman’s favorite subject is Macroeconomics and at Brown he’ll be majoring in business/economics.
“I will also take some entrepreneurial classes as well and I plan on taking advantage of Brown’s open curriculum,” Freeman said.
Freeman describes what drew him to Brown.
“Brown is an amazing institution and I see a ton of potential in the football program. The coaching staff is great and I am really excited to play for Coach Perry and the rest of the staff,” Freeman said. “Everyone I have talked to loves the culture there, and I am committed to helping build the program even more and bringing a couple Ivy League championships back to Providence.”
Freeman will excel at the next level not only because of his talent but also due to his drive and determination.
“I think that my work ethic and competitiveness separate me from other quarterbacks and players. I do anything to win and get better and I do not shy away no matter the stage. I live off competition and when I am competing my game and abilities elevate,” Freeman said. “I think this completely separates me and gives me confidence in my skills no matter what team I am playing against or who I’m competing with.”
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