I'll be the first to admit that going into the 2014 season, I was very skeptical of KeShun Freeman playing as a true freshman, much less being named the starting WDE very early in the season. He was a little undersized (6'1", 230 pounds) and wasn't a particularly decorated recruit, and seemed to me like the type (like so many of our recruits) that could use a redshirt season before he'd be ready to produce in the ACC.
I'll be the first to admit all of that, and I'll also be the first to admit that I was wrong to think that.
Not only was Freeman the starter for the final 12 games of last season, but he led the team in sacks (4.5) and tackles for loss (9.5), and was seventh in both total tackles (54) and solo tackles (37). He also blocked a punt against Virginia and recovered a fumble against Georgia Southern that may have prevented the entire season from being derailed in Week 3. Freeman was as solid as anyone could have asked for from a true freshman. (For reference, Jeremiah Attaochu only recorded 3.0 sacks and 4.0 TFL as a true freshman in 2010.)
For his contributions, Freeman was named a Freshman All-American by USA Today, ESPN, 247Sports, and Phil Steele, and he was named to ACSMA's All-ACC team as an honorable mention.
It should also be noted that, in only a year at school, Freeman has made a major impact in the community as one of the team's biggest contributors to community service efforts. In addition, Freeman was one of 11 football players and 17 Georgia Tech student-athletes who made a trip to the Dominican Republic back in May to build a house for a family in need. Freeman is a good football player and a really good dude.
2015 and Beyond
Moving forward, Freeman figures to continue to be a major difference-maker at Georgia Tech. He's reportedly put on good weight this offseason and plans to play around 245 pounds by the time the season starts. Continued development of Freeman's pass-rushing skills and body will make him a major force in the conference (and possibly even nationally) by the time he's a senior.
As far as Freeman's speed-rushing abilities (speed, spin move, cornering ability) go, he's already proven very talented and difficult to stop. The biggest thing Freeman needs to work on moving forward to be a more complete defensive end are his bull rush (strength and leverage) as well as his run defending. Though his ability to get around linemen has been pretty impressive thus far, an ability to be physical and impose his will in the run game (or when pass rushing) is the key to Freeman taking the next step as a defensive end. Keep an eye out for that.
Overall, expect Freeman to be a fringe top-10 pass rusher in a conference that would appear to be absolutely stacked with them. He'll benefit from the addition of Jabari Hunt-Days beside him, but expect Freeman to create more pressure by himself in Year 2, without the help of blitzing linebackers.