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Ken SugiuraKen Sugiura

Q&A KeShun Freeman: ‘Just had a sense of pride in the school’

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Georgia Tech freshman defensive end KeShun Freeman was one of the most noteworthy developments of spring practice, going from early enrollee to having a spot on the depth chart. Freeman has been the recipient of considerable praise from teammates and coaches for his drive, intelligence and playmaking ability. He made his debut Saturday against Wofford as a backup to Roderick Rook-Chungong and shared some of the details of the day Tuesday.

 

Q: So what was your first game like?

A: It was amazing. It was so fun. It’s faster than what it was in high school, a lot faster. But I’m adjusting to it and everything. It was really fun.

Q: What was it like coming out of the tunnel?

A: I remember my mom when I was a senior in high school, my mom was telling me, ‘The first time you run out of that tunnel, I’m going to be happy, jumping around and stuff.’ So I was running out, like, I know my family’s smiling, I know I’m making everybody proud in my hometown. I just had a sense of pride in the school and what I was doing,

Q: Was it hard to focus?

A: I had all my brothers and sisters – I’m the oldest of five kids – my parents, I had my girlfriend – she goes to Georgia State – I had my aunt and I had my godbrother as well.

Q: Could you hear them?

A: Actually, I did, when I was running out onto the field, I could see my mom and I could hear her screaming. That was really the amazing part of it.

Q: What do you remember about the first snap?

A: The first snap I played, I was in a zone. I was like, Hey, I’m very excited. I was really excited to be out there. I did what I had to do. I played my guy, did my responsibility. It was just really fun.

Q: Was it hard to focus? I imagine your heart was beating pretty fast.

A: I wasn’t really nervous. I was just really excited about being out there. I had to focus in because you had the crowd screaming and everything, but being out there and everybody saying, ‘Do this, do this, you’ve got to do this, you’ve got to do this,’ it really zoned me into the game, so I was focused.

Q: How well did you know your assignments?

A: Coach P. (defensive line coach Mike Pelton), he’s been really working with me and making sure I know what to do. It’s all about your assignments, because that’s the biggest thing that they teach you in college, is it’s about your assignment. So I knew what my assignment was and I knew how to execute what I had to do. So it was easy going into it.

Q: Tulane will be a much different game than Wofford, which ran and played option.

A: I’m very excited about. It gives the whole d line the opportunity to do a little more pass rushing. It’s really bringing us together by practicing with everything. It’s making us more excited and with the excitement comes a better game out of all of us, so I’m very excited about it.

Q: Does it feel less confining to not play an option offense?

A: The thing with the option is it’s sort of different. It isn’t really like you’re confined. But it’s just a different thing because we don’t really play as many teams with the option. So it’s a little different, but playing a team that’s going to zone (block) and everything, it’s fun.

Q: What do you think about playing in Tulane’s new stadium?

A: I know they’re very excited, but we’re even more excited. We have a mission to go in and take care of our responsibilities and our main goal is to win and just be winners. So we have to stay focused. I believe if each one of our guys can stay focused, we will win the game.

Q: Jeremiah Attaochu, Coach Johnson and others have said a lot of positive things about you. How aware are you of it and what do you think?

A: It’s really a blessing to be here and hearing a lot of people saying that I’m going to do some great things here, it kind of motivates me to do those great things. One thing that my mother has always told me is that, if you have a goal, try to reach for that goal. And once you reach it, try to exceed that goal. So I’m looking to do some great things. If people say the sky’s the limit, I’m trying to go past the sky.

Q: How did you feel in the fourth quatrer, having split time at defensive end with Roderick Rook-Chungong?

A: Having a rotation, that does keep us fresh. I know if Rod got tired, Coach (Pelton) put me in and if I got a little fatigued,  Coach would put him in. It kept  us fresh. I know in the past, they didn’t rotate as much, but Coach has really rotated us and made sure that we’re able to play at our best potential.

Q: What are your personal goals for this season?

A: My personal goal is to just be one of the freshman leaders on the team, help us to get to Charlotte (site of the ACC championship game) this year and just win it all. That’s one of my personal goals, just do what I have to do to make a winning team.

Q: How is it competing with Rod at defensive end?

A: It’s a good thing, because we always joke with each other like, I’m right behind you, I’m going to catch up with you, and everything. The competition really makes us both better. If he’s slacking off, I’m like, Alright, man, I’m right here (behind you). That makes him do better. If I’m slacking off, he’s like, Oh, you’re not catching me anytime soon. That makes me go faster. It’s really good. He’s a really great guy.

Q: After enrolling early, at what point did you know you had a chance to play this season?

A: Well, coming in early getting workouts and everything, the older guys worked with me in the spring. We did drills and everything. Working with those guys made me realize that, Hey they believe in you, so you should believe in yourself. I started really believing in myself then and knowing I had a chance to make a difference for his team and be a part of the team as a freshman.

Q: Who in particular was encouraging to you?

A: Adam Gotsis every day, he and Shawn Green said, ‘Alright, Ke’ – they call me Ke – they were like, Alright Ke, man, you’re closer, you’re doing your thing, keep it up. They always were there to give me a word of encouragement. Patrick Gamble, he’s from Carrollton, I’m from LaGrange, and it’s like right there (close by), so having someone that’s close from your town also motivates you. It’s made me feel a lot better, too.

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