High school career
Freeman attended Imperial High School in Imperial, California, where he played running back for the Imperial Tigers high school football team. Freeman made his varsity debut as a Freshman against Southwest High School (El Centro, CA.) His second career carry was a 63-yard touchdown run. He finished his Freshman year with 225 yards on 26 carries and 1 rushing touchdown. Freeman's Sophomore year he ran for 2,075 yards on 162 carries and ran for 35 touchdowns. He also caught 14 passes for 153 yards and added 2 receiving touchdowns and returned 2 interceptions for touchdowns. Freeman's Junior year he ran for 2,482 yards on 201 carries and ran for 34 touchdowns. He caught 10 passes for 137 yards and had 2 touchdown receptions. Freeman's Senior season he ran for 2,824 yards on 256 carries and ran for 41 touchdowns. He also caught 8 passes for 116 yards and added 2 receiving touchdowns. He finished his high school playing career with 7,606 rushing yards on 645 carries (11.8 yards per carry) and ran for 111 touchdowns. Freeman also recorded 6 receiving touchdowns and 2 interceptions returned for touchdown (119 total touchdowns). 
During his Senior season Freeman set 3 San Diego section career records. Against Calexico High School Freeman broke the career rushing record of 6,694 yards which was set by Ricky Seale of Escondido High School.  The following week against Central High School Freeman broke the career rushing touchdown record of 105 set by Rashaan Salaam of La Jolla Country Day High School.  In the final week of the regular season Freeman would break the career points scored record of 697 points set by Dillon Baxter of Mission Bay High School.
Freeman is the San Diego Section record holder for career rushing yards (7,606), Career rushing touchdowns (111), and career points scored (724)
Royce Freeman came to Oregon as the highest rated recruit of the 2014 class. He immediately impressed coaches in practice and camp, and competed for the starting role with Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner. All three men were listed as co-starters at the running back position to start the 2014 season. Freeman, the heaviest of the three, established himself as a "power back," an element missing in the Oregon offense since the 2008 season. He finished the season with 252 carries for 1365 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns, while having 16 receptions for 158 yards and 1 touchdown receiving. He even had a 26-yard passing touchdown to Quarterback Marcus Mariota in a 31-24 loss to the Arizona Wildcats. At the end of the season, he was awarded Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year.
Awards & honors
- Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year (Pac-12 Coaches) 
- Pac-12 All-Conference 2nd Team (Pac-12 Coaches)
- Freshman Rushing Yards, 1,353
- Freshman Rushing Touchdowns, 19
- San Diego Section Career Rushing Yards, 7,606
- San Diego Section Career Rushing Touchdowns, 111
- San Diego Section Career Points Scored, 724