THE FLATS - Georgia Tech senior defensive end KeShun Freeman has been tabbed as one of 20 semifinalists for the inaugural Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award, the award's selection committee announced this week.
The Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year, named in honor of the Dallas Cowboys tight end and 2012 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year recipient, is the first college football honor to focus primarily on a student-athlete's leadership, both on and off the field. The 20 semifinalists were selected based on their record of leadership, as displayed by exhibiting exceptional courage, integrity and sportsmanship.
Voted a team captain by his teammates prior to the 2017 season, Freeman is one of Georgia Tech football's unquestioned leaders. In particular, he is an active member of Georgia Tech's Student-Athlete Advisory Board and is noted for organizing student-athletes to participate in community service initiatives, including visits to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite Hospital.
He was selected as a member of the 2016 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team in recognition of his involvement in several service projects in Atlanta and beyond, including Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, the Chick-fil-A Youth Football Camp, Girls on the Run, Special Olympics and a trip to the Dominican Republic on behalf of Fellowship of Christian Athletes to build houses for local families.
Freeman's service to the community and desire to help children is inspired by his brother, Landon, whose battle with health issues was chronicled by ESPN in 2015. Landon's inspiration has also led KeShun, who will graduate in December with a bachelor's degree in business administration, to aspire for a career in pediatric anesthesiology after his football-playing days are over.
On the field, Freeman has appeared in 47-consecutive games and made 44 career starts at defensive end for Georgia Tech. He has recorded seven sacks, 19.5 tackles for loss and forced two fumbles over the course of his career and was named freshman all-America after compiling 4.5 sacks during his first collegiate season in 2014.
Four finalists for the 2017 Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year award will be named on Dec. 11. The winner will be announced on Feb. 22 in Frisco, Texas. The winner receives a $10,000 contribution in his name to his school's athletic scholarship fund.
Freeman and the Yellow Jackets (4-4, 3-3 ACC) host No. 17 Virginia Tech (7-2, 3-2 ACC) for Military Appreciation Day on Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Kickoff is at 12:20 p.m. Tickets are still available and can be purchased online by clicking HERE. For more information on Military Day festivities, including discounted tickets for all active and reserve U.S. military personnel and veterans, click HERE.