Oklahoma football: Gavin Freeman named Big 12 Co-Special Teams Player of Week

Oklahoma's Gavin Freeman (82) runs back a punt for a touchdown during a college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Arkansas State Red Wolves at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023.
Oklahoma's Gavin Freeman (82) runs back a punt for a touchdown during a college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Arkansas State Red Wolves at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023. /
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Oklahoma football wide receiver Gavin Freeman has a breakout performance in Saturday’s win over Arkansas State, and on Monday he was named Big 12 Co-Special Teams player of the Week.

The sophomore wide receiver from nearby Oklahoma City ran a punt back 82 yards for a touchdown and caught a touchdown pass in the Sooners’ 73-0 whitewashing of Arkansas State in the Oklahoma season opener.

Freeman’s punt return for a touchdown was the first by a Sooner player since Dede Westbrook returned one 77 yards in 2016 and the longest since 2013. According to the OU athletic department, Freeman’s is one of just three among FBS teams in the first two weeks of the season and the longest of the three.

For the second straight season, the former Oklahoma walk-on scored a touchdown on his first touch of the season. A year ago, he scored a 46-yard touchdown off of a reverse on the first touch of his college career.

Freeman had a second punt return on Saturday for eight yards and also caught four passes for 19 yards, including the touchdown catch.

Head coach Brent Venables awarded Freeman with a scholarship during preseason training camp.

Other Big 12 Week 1 honorees were Cincinnati QB Emory Jones, Offensive Player and Newcomer of the Week; Iowa State DB Jeremiah Cooper, Defensive Player of the Week; and BYU P Ryan Rehkow, Co-Special Teams Player of the Week along with OU’s Freeman.

Oklahoma will host SMU, a 38-14 winner over Louisiana Tech in Week 1, on Saturday at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Kick off is set for 5 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.