Freeman ready to make impact on defense

Photo by John Nakano

KeShun Freeman, a freshman defensive end from Hogansville, Georgia, has plenty of reasons to be happy in his first year playing at Tech. Freeman has immediately stepped into a major role on Coach Paul Johnson’s defensive line and is already having an impact.

Freeman recorded his first sack September 6th against Tulane. Freeman’s early playing time is due in part to his talent and as an unfortunate side effect of the loss of Jeremiah Attaochu, Emmanuel Dieke and other key players to  ineligibility.

“The speed of the game is really fun… It’s much better than high school,” said freshman defensive end KeShun Freeman.

Those are promising words from a player who could be a four year starter for Tech and step into the defensive leadership role left vacant by Attaochu. Additionally, for a man built not unlike a fire truck, at 6’1” and 240 pounds, Freeman is fast. He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.57 seconds. That’s faster than fleet-footed former Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel, who also happens to be 30 pounds lighter.

Freeman also hopes to sculpt his body and hone his skills even more under the tutelage of defensive line coach Mike Pelton.

“I’m already pretty fast, but if I can gain weight, and keep my speed, that’d be great. I’m about 240 right now; I want to get to 245. I definitely want to increase my hand speed too. With the motor I have now, it’ll make me even better,” Freeman said.

Freeman isn’t just focused on physical speed either: he’s looking for quick success.

“I make plays. Everything from high school, I just want to improve. I just want to help the team get to the next stage, Freeman said.

Those are high marks to shoot for as someone who notched 153 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, three sacks and four forced fumbles in ten games as a senior at Callaway High School.

Freeman refuses to get ahead of himself and says he won’t get caught by expectations. The high school standout doesn’t get caught looking ahead to rivalry games either.

“The most important game to me is always the next game. I’m always focused on the next game so I can get my mind ready for it,” Freeman said.

Even though he has a bright future ahead of him and is the only freshman defensive end to play right away, he’s quick to give  and fellow defensive lineman credit.

“Adam Gotsis and Shawn Green just have that leadership quality about them. Rod Rook-Chungong and I feed off each other and help each other out,” Freeman said.

Beyond the enormous talent and potential on the field, Freeman can flash his studious side as well. He graduated in the top five percent of his high school class and was recruited to play at elite academic institutions such as Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Duke, Stanford and Harvard. But in the end Tech was the right fit.

“I’m enjoying the whole college experience. Campus has been really good, it’s never a boring time. There’s always something going on in the community,” Freeman said.

The rest of the Tech defense looks to be improved to go along with the freshman defensive end’s talents. The defensive backfield is led by redshirt Senior strong safety Isaiah Johnson, who is back from a season-ending injury last year. Senior linebacker Quayshawn Nealy and the rest of the linebacker corps will play a big role as well for Freeman and the rest of the line to have success.

With that support around him, it’s not out of the question for Freeman to end the season with 30 to 40 tackles and 4 to 7 sacks. In two games this season, Freeman already has one sack and six tackles (five solo). The future of Tech’s defense is looking up.