James Freeman hopes to follow the lead of others within the Exeter Chiefs set-up and make his mark in the Aviva Premiership.
The back-row forward moved to Sandy Park from Championship side Jersey Reds on a two-year deal this summer and is determined to prove Rob Baxter’s eye for unearthing emerging talent from English rugby’s second tier remains as sharp as ever.
In recent years the Chiefs head coach has brought in the likes of Harry Williams, Elvis Taione, Shaun Malton, Mitch Lees and Tomas Francis from Championship clubs and all of them have gone on to make their mark with the Devon club.
Freeman admits the path trod by the aforementioned is something he is keen to follow – and says the Chiefs have a proven track record when it comes to giving players like himself their big opportunity.
Initially starting his senior career in Worcester Academy, Freeman plied his trade with both Stourbridge and Loughborough Students in the National Leagues, before he made the switch to Jersey ahead of the 2015/16 season.
And it was with the Islanders that Freeman's game started to hit new levels, producing a string of eye-catching displays that not only earnt him a Championship Player of the Month accolade in April 2016, but also brought him to the attentions of the Chiefs.
Baxter clearly liked what he saw in the player and moved swiftly to bolster his back-row options following the departures of Tom Johnson and Ben White.