TUCSON, Arizona — Growing up, Arizona's Rourke Freeburg felt like his name was often mispronounced.
"Rorky, Roke, Rock," Freeburg said. "It went on and on."
However, at Arizona, his name was never called.
Freeburg's name was chosen by his Mom, who went to ASU. And, despite growing up in Scottsdale, Freeburg chose Arizona.
"I thought this was a better fit for me academically and athletically."
Freeburg walked on the football team, but barely played. Then, this past summer, several starters on defense transferred out of the program due to the uncertainty over COVID-19. Freeburg went from being a special teams player to being a starting linebacker who leads the Wildcats with 3.5 tackles for a loss.
"I'm not surprised. I show up every day and work hard. Sometimes, doing my job results in big plays."
Freeburg is now set to have an impact, and make a name for himself, in the game he grew up watching with his family.
"This game means a lot. I look forward to this game every year, especially now that I have a critical role on defense."
And, his Mom will be wearing cardinal red and navy blue.
"She doesn't care about Arizona State anymore. She's a full Wildcat now that her boy is playing on Saturday for the Wildcats."