Marcus Freeman reportedly pitches 2024 recruit on 'difference' between Ohio State and Notre Dame degrees

Colin Gay
The Columbus Dispatch

Before Ohio State's 2022 season opener against Notre Dame, football coach Marcus Freeman was quoted as dismissing the academics of Ohio State University and the University of Cincinnati, telling CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd, "You don't go to class (at places like that)."

And while Freeman walked back those comments publicly, telling former Ohio State teammates Bobby Carpenter and Anthony Schlegel on 97.1 The Fan that he was misquoted on those comments construed as critical of academics at Ohio State, one recruit says Freeman's narrative against the Buckeyes has continued.

2024 four-star linebacker Kyngstonn Viliamu-Asa has Ohio State, Notre Dame and USC in his final three, with official visits scheduled for each, including the Buckeyes the weekend of June 23.

Talking with Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney, Viliamu-Asa said Freeman has fixated his pitch of Notre Dame over Ohio State around academics.

“The major thing (Freeman) touched on was how much Notre Dame offers off the field and the difference between an Ohio State degree and a Notre Dame degree," Viliamu-Asa said according to "It was important for me and my mom to see it because my mom is big on academics so what he touched on was school, the connections and what a Notre Dame degree means after football.”

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Viliamu-Asa is ranked as the No. 105 player and No. 8 linebacker in the 2024 class according to 247Sports composite rankings. Ohio State already has two linebacker commits in the 2024 class in Payton Pierce and Garrett Stover, who were each heavily recruited by the Fighting Irish.

In Freeman's interview on 97.1 The Fan in September, he said he is "very proud of my two degrees from Ohio State," and would not discredit the "quality of education those degrees represented."

"I would never disrespect Ohio State," Freeman continued. "I would never say you don't go to class. I went to class. I'm sure you did. We made sure we went to class. I would never say that and never disrespect my alma mater."

Sep 3, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA;  Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Marcus Freeman watches from the sideline during the NCAA football game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State opened the 2022 season with a 21-10 win against the Fighting Irish, the Buckeyes' fifth consecutive win against Notre Dame.

When he was hired in December 2021, Freeman, writing for the Players' Tribune, noted he regretted his decision to sign with Ohio State over Notre Dame.

"I just thank God that I didn’t make the wrong decision twice," he wrote of taking the Notre Dame job, a statement he later clarified.

“I want to make sure to be very clear that the relationships, the time that I spent in Columbus have impacted me and the relationships I built will be with me for the rest of my life," Freeman said in the opening statement of his introductory press conference. "So, I’m very passionate about being a head coach here (at Notre Dame), but in no way did I want to diminish my time in Columbus and the impact that time had on me. I want to be clear on that.” 

Ohio State will travel to South Bend, Indiana Sept. 23 to take on Notre Dame.

Ohio State football schedule 2023

Here's what Ohio State's 2023 football schedule looks like.

  • Sept. 2: Ohio State vs. Indiana, Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, Indiana
  • Sept. 9: Ohio State vs. Youngstown State, Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
  • Sept. 16: Ohio State vs. Western Kentucky, Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
  • Sept. 23: Ohio State vs. Notre Dame, Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Indiana
  • Oct. 7: Ohio State vs. Maryland, Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
  • Oct. 14: Ohio State vs. Purdue, Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, Indiana
  • Oct. 21: Ohio State vs. Penn State, Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
  • Oct. 28: Ohio State vs. Wisconsin, Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wisconsin
  • Nov. 4: Ohio State vs. Rutgers, SHI Stadium, Piscataway, New Jersey
  • Nov. 11: Ohio State vs. Michigan State, Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio 
  • Nov. 18: Ohio State vs. Minnesota, Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
  • Nov. 25: Ohio State vs. Michigan, Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

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