The Notre Dame football replaced defensive coordinator Clark Lea in a big way on Friday, signing Cincinnati DC Marcus Freeman.
By now, you’ve seen that Notre Dame football got the man at top of their wish list for defensive coordinator. Marcus Freeman, who had been at Cincinnati since 2017, and Purdue before that, is now the Notre Dame defensive coordinator. They landed him over LSU, in large part because Freeman wanted to stay in the Midwest and saw Notre Dame as a quicker path to a major head coaching job, as his predecessor left for an SEC head coaching job.
Freeman played linebacker at Ohio State and was drafted in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL draft by Chicago, but he never got off a practice squad with three teams in one year in the NFL. By 2010, he was back at Ohio State, this time as a graduate assistant. From there Freeman had a brief stop at Kent State to coach linebackers.
That led to the same job at Purdue, where he was quickly promoted to co-defensive coordinator for the 2016 season. Purdue went 3-9 that season, though, which is a good way for an entire coaching staff to lose their jobs. Freeman landed on his feet though, as an old Ohio State buddy was getting a head coaching job at Cincinnati.
Luke Fickell took on Marcus Freeman as defensive coordinator, and the two took on a massive rebuild. Four years later, the Bearcats were in the Peach Bowl, led by Freeman who has recruited above weight class at Cincinnati and helped make them one of the toughest defensive teams in the country.
Now, he will replace Clark Lea. It was a brilliant hire by Kelly and will help the Irish continue their string of dominance going forward. So, here are three reasons that Marcus Freeman was a great hire: