HERRIMAN, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – The former tall, skinny quarterback is now an NFL offensive lineman.
Former Herriman High and BYU star Blake Freeland was selected by the in the fourth round of the NFL Draft with the 106th overall pick. Freeland is the first BYU player taken in the 2023 NFL Draft.
After coming to BYU out of Herriman as an “athlete,” he was moved to the offensive line, where the 6-foot-8 Freeland bulked up to 305 pounds. Freeland was a four-year starter for the Cougars, playing right tackle his first two seasons and left tackle the last two. He was named a third-time AP All-American after the 2022 season.
“He’s a big-time playmaker,” said BYU head coach Kalani Sitake. “A lot of people know him for breaking the vertical jump record at the NFL Combine, but he’s been showing this type of athleticism since he was young. He was a basketball player and state champion in discus and shotput. His parents are also former BYU student-athletes, with his mom being an All-American, so it makes sense that he has great genetics. Blake still has so much potential. He has not hit his peak yet. It’s going to be a lot of fun to see him in the NFL.”
Freeland vaulted up draft boards after recording a 37-inch vertical leap at the NFL Combine, the highest jump ever for an offensive lineman. He also ran a 4.98 second 40-yard dash.
Freeland did not give up a single sack last year and was flagged for just two penalties.
Freeland was also a basketball and track star at Herriman High, where he set the state javelin throw record.
Blake’s father Jim played linebacker at BYU from 1994-95, and his mother Debbie Dimond, played basketball for BYU from 1991-95. She is the eighth-highest scorer in BYU women’s basketball history. Blake’s sister Sierra was a track star for the Cougars.
Freeland is the 34th Cougar offensive lineman to be drafted overall. The last BYU offensive lineman drafted was Freeland’s former teammate, Consensus All-American Brady Christensen, who was selected in the third round, 70th overall, by the Carolina Panthers in 2021.
With his selection, Freeland becomes the 12th Cougar offensive lineman and the 31st BYU offensive player to be selected in one of the opening four rounds of the NFL Draft. Overall, he is the 55th BYU player to be taken in one of the first four rounds and the 15th former Cougar to be a fourth-round pick.
Through the first two days of the NFL Draft, Freeland is the only BYU player selected. However, quarterback Jaren Hall and wide receiver Puka Nacua could also hear their names called in rounds 4-7 on Saturday.