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FULTON, Miss. (WCBI Sports) – Daniel Freppon may look like a standard playmaker in the MHSAA at middle linebacker for the Itawamba AHS Indians. His coaches say he’s fast to the football, he hits hard and he’s a great leader.

But that’s about where the common characteristics end.

He grew up in Cincinnati, even spending his sophomore season there, away from Fulton.

“I played a lot more hockey up there than I did football,” Freppon said. His coaches had to correct a lateral movement in his running motion, which he picked up playing hockey.

“He still thinks he’s an ice hockey player, but he’s not,” head coach Clint Hoots said. “He’s a football player for sure.”

Freppon is adopted. His parents took him in at a young age. His mother says his birth mother was an alcoholic.

“We’ve just been proud of the challenges that have faced him,” Daniel’s mother, Valerie, said. “The move, and then coming to a strange place and playing football.”

Freppon is shining on the field in his senior season, averaging more than 12 tackles per game thus far. But the team says his greatest impact doesn’t show up on the stat sheet.

“Daniel is an extremely hard-working kid. He is a great person to be around. He’s a leader,” Hoots said. “He’s always carried himself in a first-class manner, on the field and off the field.”

His teammates agree.

“He picks everybody up. He gets us rolling, gets us crunk. He gets our adrenaline going,” junior running back and cornerback Hakee Rainey said. “I just think he’s a beast player.”

“He’s a leader of our defense,” V.J. Miller said. “He’s a quarterback out there. I’m thankful he’s on our side, not on anyone else’s side.”

Freppon says he’s grateful for what he has in Fulton.

“I definitely love this school, the community, the team. They’ve done a lot for me,” he said. “I honestly wouldn’t want to do it with any other team.”

His focus in the classroom could help him play at the next level. Many in-state schools are recruiting Freppon, including Southern Miss, Delta State and many junior colleges. He says school work is a focus for him.

“I didn’t realize how important it was at first, my freshman and sophomore year, but definitely (did) my junior and senior years,” Freppon said. “It makes a huge difference in where you can go to school and where you can get to in life after high school.”

The Indians are 3-0 and host Aberdeen Friday.

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